While the attention of the whole country was focused on the Constitutional Court’s ruling electronic asset declaration and the NAPC’s powers unconstitutional and MPs’ submitting legislative junk to imitate the struggle against the CCU, the President made several decisions with far-reaching consequences.
This week Zelensky enacted the decision by the National Security and Defense Council to increase the budget allocated for security and defense in 2021, transferred the National Academy for Public Administration under the Ministry of Education, and ordered the Cabinet to start preparing for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of independence of Ukraine. By giving orders to the Cabinet, the President has once more overstepped his authority.
Budget 2021 on security and defense proposed by the National Security and Defense Council approved by Zelensky
Who is affected: the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Strategic Industries, the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the State Border Guard Service, the Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the National Police, enterprises of the defense industry, servicemen, and policemen.
What does it change:
- if approved by the Parliament, ₴267 bln (5.93% of GDP) of the government budget 2021 will be allocated to security and defense, i.e. the planned expenses will increase by more than ₴20 bln
- proposed key priorities:
introduction of NATO standards
enhancement of the air defense system and navy, the intelligence of counterintelligence, and cybersecurity
social security for personnel
- the Ministry of Strategic Industries could receive near ₴22 bln (0.5% GDP) to reform the military-industrial complex and to develop defense technologies. Thus, extra money on security and defense from the government budget is going to be spent by the Ministry of Strategic Industries.
What is wrong: in Ukraine, the cooperation between the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defense, intelligence bodies, scientists, and management of the military-industrial complex is not efficient. The newly created ministry has not solved this problem, so extra money from the government budget for the military-industrial complex will probably be spent inefficiently, without a clear strategy, and with high corruption risks.
What next: the Verkhovna Rada has to consider the proposal by the NSDC while preparing the second draft of the government budget 2021 and allocate the necessary extra funding. That will be a problem since the budget deficit next year even in the first draft has been near ₴280 bln.
National Academy for Public Administration transferred under Ministry of Education
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, the State Management of Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
What does it change: the National Academy for Public Administration and regional institutes of public administration will no longer be under the State Management of Affairs. Instead, they will be transferred under the Ministry of Education and Science.
What is right: the State Management of Affairs is a body under the President. The Constitution does not envisage for such a body to exist, so its legal status is unclear. The SMA many times has been the center of corruption scandals, so it is a reasonable decision to transfer a part of its assets under the dedicated ministry.
What is wrong: there is no practical sense in keeping a separate body like the National Academy for Public Administration. Personnel for the Civil Service has to be prepared by the system of higher education while further training for civil servants should be provided by regular higher education establishments or dedicated scientific establishments. There should be a competition for contracts on such services.
What next: the Minister of Education Serhii Shkarlet plans to incorporate the National Academy for Public Administration into the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
Celebration of the 30th anniversary of independence of Ukraine started
Who is affected: the Cabinet of Ministries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local state administrations, and Ukrainian citizens.
What does the bill change:
- the President has ordered the Cabinet to organize the celebration of the anniversary of independence. That includes a military parade in the center of Kyiv, various thematic events, production of commemorative coins, post stamps, and other merchandise
- the Cabinet will be obliged to invite leaders of foreign countries, international organizations, and Ukrainian diaspora.
What is wrong: according to the Constitution, the President has no authority to give orders to the Cabinet.
What next: the Verkhovna Rada has to adopt the bill and allocate money for the celebration from the government budget 2021. The Cabinet and ministries have to approve a decision to organize celebratory events.
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