Team of Odesa regional state administration calls on Verkhovna Rada to pass “Odesa Reforms Package” this autumn


Kyiv, September 17, 2015. Team of the Head of Odesa regional state administration calls on Verkhovna Rada to pass the “Odesa Reforms Package” over the next two months. “It is not ideal but it is what it should be, it is now important to change the dynamics,” said Sasha Borovyk, Advisor to the Head of Odesa regional state administration at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center while presenting the draft suggestions on reforms in both Odesa region and the entire country. The team of Mikheil Saakashvili suggests the following initiatives: reform of civil service, reform of labor relations, simplified system of administrative services provision, profound deregulation and business liberalization, transparent privatization, new tax and customs systems, the electronic procurement system.

According to Sasha Borovyk contract has to become the key in settlement of labor relations. The civil service reform foresees red tape elimination, introduction of contract-based principles, transparent hiring and firing systems, introduction of outsource and reimbursement to civil servants from a special fund financed by international organizations. “We are tired of the situation when there are volunteers who walk around our building and who we can’t hire and at the same time there are civil servants who can’t pass the exams and who we cannot fire. We are putting efforts s so that the civil service becomes professional,” said Borovyk.

Reformed administrative services will first of all allow obtaining various services in one day through the “single window” system and without the need to attend an administrative body. This also includes expansion of the “silence procedure” principle and introduction of extraterritoriality principle. “If you come from Lviv to Odesa and you need to get a document, you should be able to come to the same office and get it,” said Borovyk.

Profound deregulation and business liberalization foresee optimization of licensing, taxation and of customs procedures; introducing respective changes to the legislation; introducing new transparent and efficient procedures that are called to improve investment climate. Profound deregulation will be exercised in several areas including city construction, winery, water supply, waste management, emissions, wiring up communication lines as well as immigration and foreign investment. “For foreign investment we say that there is no need to register anything, as there are no foreigners here and no investment is coming, but when they are here they have to wait for three months until they get registered, until they are able to invest in the country. It is not happening anywhere else,” said the Advisor to the Head of Odesa regional state administration.

According to Borovyk privatization needs to be introduced through the auctions, in a transparent way and under public control. As to the land plots, there are several revolutionary steps, he announced. “We are saying that the market needs to be liberalized, zoning elements need to be introduced into our land planning, the process of land privatization can be much faster than it is now, we are saying that people who have certain objects constructed on the land have to privatize this land,” explained Borovyk. Renewal of customs procedures foresees establishing temporary special customs regime for Odesa region.

The “Odesa Reforms Package” also includes the Act for Economic Freedom that foresees a possibility to hold a referendum on introduction of new taxes or the increase of their level; it also foresees free movement of capital and budget discipline.

Almost each concept has been translated into a draft law, said Borovyk, an interactive website has been created where respective drafts are placed. “The website provides an opportunity to discuss or leave a comment; we will analyse all of them. If there are interesting suggestions, we shall take them into account. In any case, we would like to arrange it in a way that once our work is done, there is a feeling that it is not only the Odesa team or only Saakashvili who started the process, but it is the part of Ukrainian society advocating for these changes,” explained the idea Borovyk.

According to Volodymyr Fedoryn, co-founder of the Kakha Bendukidze Free Economy Center it is advisable to adopt this reforms package in the parliament this autumn as these changes are what the entire country needs, not only Odesa region. “Current political class, this Rada (parliament) and this President have got the third and the last window of opportunities – autumn-winter 2015-2016 when reforms in Ukraine can get a serious impulse,” he said. Fedoryn also added that the reforms package drafted by the team of Mikheil Saakashvili with involvement of best experts from various spheres and institutions is what is required to start serious, radical and profound reforms.