Quarantine assistance, competences of border guards, better quality of drinking water

18 November 2021
Quarantine  assistance,  competences of border guards, better quality of drinking water
Home > Monitoring > Quarantine assistance, competences of border guards, better quality of drinking water

This week, Verkhovna Rada will focus not on personnel and appointments but on things that directly impact the lives of many among us. Draft bills about financial assistance for those who lost a part of income because of the pandemic, powers of border guards, and better quality of drinking water were finally included into the schedule.

Financial assistance to businesses for the period of quarantine restrictions

Draft bill #6297 of November 8, 2021

Status: first reading.

Who is affected: businesses, employees, the Cabinet, Ministry of Finance.

Background: this year from January to October, the revenue targets of the state budget were exceeded. Therefore, the state can provide additional financial resources to assist businesses and employees during the period of strong quarantine restrictions this autumn.

Summary of the draft bill: three billion UAH of financial assistance for private entrepreneurs and employees because of restrictions in their work due to the quarantine.

What is right:

  • allows to soften negative consequences of quarantine restrictions for the economy during the next wave of the pandemic
  • improves financial situation of the persons who lost their income because of quarantine restrictions.

Alternative solution: a significant part of quarantine restrictions of last months can be explained with low vaccination levels, including at businesses that suffer under restrictions of their work because of the quarantine. The state can provide assistance only for those entrepreneurs and employees who ensured vaccination against COVID-19. This measure would create an economic incentive for the vaccination and would comply with the government policies of fighting the pandemic.

Improvement of the use of coercion and weapons by the Border Guard Service

Draft bill #5232 of March 12, 2021

Status: second reading.

Who is affected: employees of the State Border Guard Service, persons who cross the state border.

Summary of the draft bill:

  • extends and regulates powers of the employees of the State Border Service
  • allows to use weapons of ships, boats, and aircrafts during the defense of the state border
  • defines cases for permitted use of the weapons of ships and aircrafts

What is right:

  • creates preconditions for a proper defense of the state border in an extremely complicated security situation
  • minimizes risks of potential abuses by the employees of the Border Guard Service

What else: State Border Guard Service is a law enforcement body that mainly has the service function. This function presupposes protection and defense of the state border as well as ensuring crossing control at the demarcation line with the occupied territories. As of 2021, tasks and priorities of the State Border Guard Service radically changed in comparison to the mid-2000s, when its demilitarization has taken place. There is a number of reasons for such changes:

  • ongoing military aggression of Russia against Ukraine
  • Russia has undertaken an extensive militarization of the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, increases its military presence in border areas, de facto has taken over control over the waters of Azov sea and Kerch strait
  • Russia is continuing its aggressive expansionist politics in the Black sea and increased its military presence and political influence in Belarus to a level close to a gradual annexation of this country. Economic activities and border crossings by civilians are declining.
  • the priority of the Border Guard Service shifted from the protection of the border to its defense.

Alternative solution:  transforming the Border Guard Service to a military formation that has the defense of the state border as its main task or splitting its functions. For example, at the Western border the Border Guard Service could continue to exist in its current form, whereas for the defense of the borders with Russian Federation and Belarus as well as of the demarcation line with the occupied territories, a military formation responsible for the border defense could be created from  parts of the Border Guard Service.

State program “Drinking Water of Ukraine” for years 2022-2026

Draft bill #5723 of July 2, 2021

Status: first reading.

Who is affected: inhabitants of Ukraine, local authorities, state authorities.

Background: During the last decades, the infrastructure of the central water supply has been deteriorating. Methods of water intake and treatment changed, while most communities cannot build new facilities or reconstruct old ones without state support. Our analysis of ecological policies in the biggest Ukrainian cities showed that there is no reliable data on the quality of drinking water in these cities. At the same time, the available data suggest that places of water intake are highly polluted. Repair of water supply networks in the cities is not a widespread practice.

Summary of the draft bill:

  • ensuring access to high quality drinking water through building, reconstruction, or major repairs of water intake, water supply, and water treatment facilities, introduction of stations of additional treatment of drinking water as well as of laboratories for water quality control and sewage control
  • determines an approximate volume of expenses for program implementation for 4 years — 28.5 bln UAH, including 17 bln UAH from the state budget and 11.5 bln UAH from local budgets.
  • during the implementation of the program, 290 water intake facilities, 79 stations of additional treatment of drinking water, 280 water supply and water treatment facilities are to be built or reconstructed.

What is right: 

  • a comprehensive approach to solving the problem of drinking water quality is a good example of long-term policy development. It will improve the quality of life in Ukraine and positively impact the ecology in the country
  • the intention to co-finance the new policy from the state budget and local budgets is a positive development. It will help to establish a cooperation between the central authorities and local authorities and will provide communities with financial means needed for implementation of such expensive projects.