During the weeks when the Verkhovna Rada holds no plenary sessions, the Cabinet traditionally is the key newsmaker. This week it once more decided to use funds allocated for fighting the pandemic to provide additional payments to one of its ministries. Also, the Cabinet has instructed the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov to sign two agreements with Italy and approved the plan of preparations for the heating season.
Ministry of Internal Affairs gets money from the COVID-19 fund (Cabinet resolution #588 of June 6, 2021)
Who is affected: service members of the National Guard and the State Border Guard Service, police officers, and employees of the State Emergency Service.
Summary of the resolution: ₴800 mln allocated for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will be used to provide additional payments for service members, police officers, and employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Cabinet approved a procedure that allows to spend the allocated money exclusively on these additional payments. In particular:
- ₴679 mln for the National Police
- ₴72 mln for the apparatus of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, of which ₴59 mln are allocated for additional payments to medical staff working for the Ministry
- ₴30 mln for the State Border Guard Service
- ₴16.5 mln for the National Guard
- ₴1.7 for the State Emergency Service.
What is wrong:
- the Government allocated additional payments from the COVID-19 fund for employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for no good reason. Since those who serve in the National Police, the National Guard, the State Border Guard, or the State Emergency Service take extra risks to their lives and health, Ukraine provides them with additional social guarantees, including:
- salaries higher than salaries of civil servants and other state employees
- medical, social, and residential benefits
In short, the state already provides compensations for service members’ extra risks.
- risks to be infected for service members and police officers are not higher than the risks of other state employees that work with people. Moreover, unlike police officers, other state employees do not have special social guarantees covering these risks. Therefore, the state should provide additional payments either to all its employees and civil servants that work with people or to none of them
- the Cabinet declared that all regions of Ukraine are in a green quarantine zone, so risks to be infected decreased and there is no reason for additional payments.
Preparations for the heating season (Cabinet resolution #586-р of June 9, 2021)
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, government bodies, local governments, energy industry enterprises, and housing and public utility industry enterprises.
Summary of the resolution: approves the plan of preparations for the 2021-2022 heating season. That includes:
- monthly schedules for supply and storage of coal and fuel oil as a reserve fuel for thermal power plans and thermoelectric power-and-heating units
- accumulation of at least 17 bln cubic meters of natural gas in the underground storages
- restructuring TTPs’ and TPHUs’ debts to NJSC Naftogaz
- analysis of wage arrears for employees of housing and public utility companies, household debts for housing and public utility services, and measures to ensure that these debts are paid.
What is right: it is necessary for the Cabinet to oversee the preparations for the heating season. During previous heating seasons, critical situations happened more than once, in particular, with coal supplies for thermal power stations and thermoelectric power-and-heating units. With proper preparations, such risks will be minimized.
Additional information: the state has to develop and implement a complex approach to its critical infrastructure, including energy industry enterprises. Many of these enterprises are privately owned, in particular by oligarchs that use them as a tool to put pressure on authorities. The Cabinet, security and law enforcement agencies, on the other hand, do not have the means to influence the situation.
Preparations to sign agreements with Italy on mutual recognition of driver licenses and police cooperation (Cabinet resolutions #584-р and 585-р of June 9, 2021)
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens in Italy, citizens of Italy in Ukraine, and the National Police.
Summary of the resolutions: on behalf of the Cabinet, the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov is entitled to sign an agreement with the Government of Italy on mutual recognition and exchange of driver licenses and an agreement on police cooperation between the two states.
What is right: at least 250 thousand Ukrainian citizens live in Italy with long-term stay permits. Recognition of Ukrainian driver licenses and permission to exchange them for Italian licenses will make it easier for our citizens to work in Italy and will decrease the cost of licenses’ reissuing.
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