The FINANCIAL — The reform process in Ukraine has reached a critical juncture. A year and a half after the introduction of dedicated local reform support teams in the state administration to support reform delivery, the programme has now reached a point where it can move into the next phase.
Ukraine’s Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, Oleksandr Saienko, told donor governments in London today: “We have made good progress and now it is time to secure and expand our gains. In phase 2 of the programme we want to focus our efforts on priorities such as privatisations, effective corporate governance of state-owned enterprises, public administration reform and improvement of the business climate. We also want to widen the scope of the programme by introducing support teams to new ministries and agencies focused on other priority reforms for 2018. These teams are not only critical for the delivery of our reform priorities but they are also the talent that will form the backbone of a modern, professional and effective civil service.”
To support Ukraine’s systematic and wide-ranging reform efforts, the Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account, the EBRD and the EU led the establishment of reform support teams in 2016. Taskforces initially worked at the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. After a successful pilot phase, further teams were established at the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services and the State Road Agency.
Around 150 people are now embedded in these state institutions, dedicated to providing the design and implementation of sectoral reform priorities as well as the transformation of the state apparatus. A new law on civil service which came into force in 2016 has laid the foundations for a new administration. In 2017 alone, 367 new reform staff positions were announced and 77 professionals were hired (139 at the end of January 2018) and in phase 2 the plan is to attract 1,800 new civil servants.
The teams working in the administration are part of the wider Ukraine reforms architecture in support of #MakeReformsHappen in the country. The framework also includes a National Reforms Council, a Reforms Delivery Office under the Cabinet of Ministers and a Strategic Advisory Group for Support of Ukrainian Reforms led by Ivan Mikloš, the former Deputy Prime Minister for Economy of the Slovak Republic. In close cooperation and coordination, steps have been taken to move forward in critical areas such as pension reform, health care reform, education reform, land market reform, privatisation and state-owned enterprises reform, according to the EBRD.
EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said: “The focus must continue to be on reform and implementing reform. We welcome the systematic and gradual approach taken by the relevant institutions and the care that has been attached to communicating and demonstrating the benefits of an efficient, transparent and accountable state administration. This is one of the preconditions for Ukraine to come into its own and start fulfilling its vast potential.”
The elements of the reform architecture are financed by the Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account, established by the EBRD in November 2014 to support Ukraine’s efforts to reform its economy, improve its business climate and return to a path of sustainable growth. Contributors to the fund are Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the EU, the largest donor.
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, added: “The Association Agreement brings the EU and Ukraine closer and opens up the potential for ever stronger cooperation. To reap the full benefit of the Agreement, Ukraine needs to adopt many, often difficult reforms. We remain committed to helping Ukraine build stronger governance, a stronger economy and a stronger society. Public administration must be inclusive, transparent, scrupulously honest and accountable, and it must deliver quality services to all Ukrainian citizens. Ukraine’s future and the success of its reform process depend on dedicated Ukrainians working with enthusiasm and engagement for their country’s future. We are helping them to build a stronger Ukraine.”