Jaba Ebanoidze

Leading Expert

Jaba Ebanoyidze: Decentralization, Federalization, Feudalization

Perhaps the most discussed reforms of the past month is decentralization. Refroma launched last year – with amendments to the Budget Code, but it is now came the most important stage – amendments to the Constitution. Constitutional Commission promptly agreed to their proposals, following the same lightning-fast conclusions of the Venice Commission. The main observations relate to the reform of decentralization through the strengthening of the presidential vertical appointed prefects. However, there are problems and the opposite character, which almost no one says, the transfer of certain state functions to local governments. Giving local authorities the powers her uncharacteristic could lead to regionalization and federalization, as a consequence – in feudalization when local elites will have almost absolute power in the regions. Failure to understand the essence of the separation of state and local authorities can become a serious problem very soon.
Decentralization against deregulation.
Ministry of Justice handed deputies introduced a bill aimed at reforming the registration system of Ukraine. According to the draft legislation logging functions will be transferred to local authorities. This step eliminates the disadvantages of the current registration system, and only passes them on to lower levels. On the sidelines of the representatives of the Ministry of Justice say directly: “We can not break the chain of corruption, so even if we divide it into several small corruption”. At the same time, there is no question of how a few small corruption is better than one big one? Corruption is the transition to the level of local government where the possibility for abuse is greatly increased. Do local officials the opportunity to act in the interests of the corrupt local elites and prevent the entry of investors and investment, including foreign investment in the region. That is why, in the interests of access to services, local authorities should retain only the “front office” – reception and delivery of documents, but not to make decisions on registration. The registration procedure – is the same and universal across the country. This is a service provided by the state service. The local authorities are, by definition, is addressing local issues in the interests of the inhabitants of a certain territory. This concept of the European Charter of Local Self-Government is called subsidiarity: management decisions should be taken at the lowest possible level of government closest to the voter. That is, the issues of roads in the village must deal with the local authorities, but not the Ministry. But where do the registration, which is, in fact, there is a unified procedure for the whole country? Transfer registration functions to local governments that can act interested party, speaks not only about the lack of understanding of the essence of the registration reform and deregulation in the broader context, but also a lack of understanding of the process of decentralization.
2. Elimination of the front office.
Ministerial bill eliminates the separation of the functions of registration on front- and back-office. With this division of the front office has been receiving documents, while back-office takes a decision on registration. In this architecture a lot of advantages, the main of which – reducing the risk of corruption. The applicant is not directly in contact with the state registrar. Furthermore, the registrar of the back-office, as a rule, is determined by the rule of roulette and geographically distant from the recorded. Under this system, the probability of contact, and therefore corrupt collusion – is minimal. Law №191 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine regarding simplification of the business environment (deregulation),” implied the division of the state registrar in the front- and back-office, but new ministerial bills preclude such a division. The decision on registration will be accepted on the spot, and in the case of the same local government it greatly increases the risks of corruption. Ministry rejects the classical principle of working across the globe – diluted submit documents and the state registrar, to exclude the possibility of contact and as a result – reduce the level of corruption.
Thus, his ill-considered actions of the Ministry gives the local authorities of improper powers and functions which are all unitary states assigned to central authorities. Inadvertently, due to a lack of professionalism in the guise of reforms laid the foundation subsequent regionalization and federalization, when in the hands of local elites concentrated excessive power is not typical of the local authorities. Stroll to feudalization and federalization that is so often scare the Ukrainians.