Our experts have been making an annual research into subventions on social and economic development since 2016. Taking into consideration the research findings, this process was questionable each year. Today, on June 5, the Cabinet of Ministers passed a resolution on the second allocation of subventions in 2019. Therefore, Civil Network OPORA prepared a statement on possible misuse of budget administrative resources during parliamentary elections and sent it to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroysman and the head of the Accounting Chamber Valerii Patskan. Full text of the statement is given below.
On June 5, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed a resolution on the second allocation of state budget subventions on social and economic development of certain territories to local budgets in 2019. Thus, almost 1 billion of budget funds were allocated by this resolution. The decision was taken without any discussion together with a significant part of other draft acts.
According to the analysis of resolution, major part of budget funds, similarly to the previous years, will be directed at small objects or objects of questionable need, costing under50 thousand UAH.For example, purchase of mirrors, printers, laptops, furniture, bicycles, stage costumes, kitchen equipment, tennis tables, sports grounds, etc. According to Civil Network OPORA,only 13% of state-funded objects costed less than 50 thousand UAH in 2016, while the percentage of such projects in 2018 reached 37%. In 2019, the amount of expenses on small objects remains has been increasing.
Although the funds are being spent on small objects, the fact that MPs use these objects in campaigning purposes is a bigger problem. Thus, from June 2018 to January 2019, there were more than 1,506 such cases used by 137 majoritarian and 24 party-list MPs in 155 constituencies. This is 78% of 88% of those constituencies that regularly receive subventions from the state budget.
Such actions of MPs have features of a misuse of administrative resource. Therefore, in the context of the official start of parliamentary elections, it is necessary to strengthen oversight of this financing, as well as to prevent their use for election purposes by candidates and political parties. It is important to ensure during the election process equal and competitive conditions for all candidates, and do not make additional electoral advantages at the expense of budget funds. Misuseof budget administrative resource, i.e. using budget funds for the benefit of the certain parties and candidates, is one of the most dangerous violations of election standards. Although such misuses are often within the formal regulations, it is disastrous for competitiveness of the election.
Thus, Civil Network OPORA calls to:
- Promptly disclose in open data format the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of 5 June 2019 concerning the allocation ofstate budget subventions on social and economic development of certain territories to local budgets in 2019.
- Strengthen control oversight of the use of budget funds.
- Use informing and proper reporting prevent the misuse of budget resources for campaigning purposes.
- Take into account previous recommendationsof Civil Network OPORA and the Accounting Chamber and increase the transparency of the subvention distribution.
- Ensure equal rights and opportunities for MP candidates and guarantee political impartiality of state authorities and local self-government bodies in regard to political parties and subjects of the electoral process.