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Local authorities to spend 37 million uah to cover its activities in 2021 - IMI study

31.03.2021, 21:43

Around 37 million of hryvnias (around $1 329 thousand) from regional and city budgets, this sum to be spent to cover the activities of local authorities in 20 regions in 2021. At the same time, the biggest budgets are supposed to be spent for its PR by the regional and city budgets of Sumy, Mariupol and the non-occupied territory of Donetsk region, as well as Kherson and Poltava.  These are the results of a study conducted by the NGO "Institute of Mass Information" in 20 regions of Ukraine in March this year *.

The research was conducted on the basis of data obtained through inquiries of the IMI regional representatives, analysis of targeted budget programs, as well as tenders / biddings and other data obtained from open sources. 

At the same time, 11 out of 60 regional state administrations, municipal and regional councils failed to provide the requested information or delayed to reply to the requests for information. Thus, in violation of the law, Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration, Dnipro Municipal Council, Kropyvnytskyi Regional State Administration, Kropyvnytskyi Regional Council, Lviv Regional State Administration, and Kharkiv Municipal Council did not respond to the inquiries. And Donetsk regional administration, Poltava regional council, Mykolaiv Municipal council, Ternopil Municipal council, Zaporizhzhya Municipal council delayed its answers. IMI is going to lodge applications and notifications, as it is prescribed by the law in order to bring to justice persons who, in violation of the Law of Ukraine "On Access to Public Information", did not satisfy the request within the period prescribed by law.

 Who spends the most

  • In Sumy, UAH 4.6 million uah (around $165 thousands) are expected to be allocated from the regional and city budgets to cover the government's activities in 2021. 
  • In Mariupol (non-occupied territories of Donetsk region) : UAH 3.65 million (around $131 thousand). 
  • In Kherson : UAH 3.26 million (around $117 thousand), in Poltava : UAH 3 million (107 thousand). 

 Who spends the least

  • 8 thousand of hryvnias (around $7 thousand) are to allocated from the regional and city budgets of Lviv.
  • From the regional and city budgets of Cherkasy were allocated 99.4 thousand hryvnias (around $3,5 thousand).

Interestingly, the largest sums for coverage of government activities are allocated from municipal budgets: 16.8 million UAH (around $ 603 thousand). And for the coverage of the activities of regional councils they are set to allocate UAH 14.9 million (around $535 thousand) and even less for the regional state administration : UAH 9.7 million (around $348 thousand)(given that UAH 4,353 million (around $156 thousand) of that sum is to be the joint expenditures for coverage of activities for regional state administrations and regional councils) .

  • The largest expenditures for coverage of the regionalstate administration are projected in Kherson (head of the regional state administration Serhiy Kozyr) : UAH 2.8 million (around $100 thousand) (total expenses for coverage of the regional state administration and regional council), Poltava (UAH 1.858 million (around $66 thousand), head of the regional state administration Oleg Sinegubov) and Chernihiv (848 thousand hryvnias (around $30 thousand) of joint expenditures to cover activity of the regional state administration and regional council, head of the state administration Anna Kovalenko). In the regional budgets there is no budget intended for coverage of activity of the regional state administrations of Lviv, Volyn, Mykolayiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Cherkasy. 
  • At the same time, Kherson also has projected the largest expenditures from the regional budget to cover the activities of the regional councils : UAH 2.8 million (around $100 thousand) (joint expenditures for coverage of activities for regional state administrations and regional council), Dnipro (UAH 2 million or around $71 thousand)) and Odessa (UAH 1.997 million (around $71 thousand)). No such expenses are projected in the Donetsk region (its unoccupied part).
  • The leaders in the costs of covering the activities of city councils were the city budgets of Mariupol with UAH 3.65 million, Sumy (UAH 131 thousand) and Kropyvnytskyi (UAH 2.481 million (around $489 thousand)). No such expense is projected in the city budget of Lviv.

 Who received the funds

According to data obtained by IMI from open sources, the largest funds for coverage of the regional / city councils are projected to be allocated to the following media organizations / companies: 

  • Slobidsky Kray LLC (Kharkiv) - UAH 1.2 million (around $43 thousand); 
  • Vinnytska Gazeta newspaper editorial office (Vinnytsia) - UAH 814.9 thousand (around $29 thousand); 
  • Chernihiv Media Group LLC / 7 Days newspaper (Chernihiv) - UAH 443.9 thousand (around $15,9 thousand); 
  • TV-4 (Ternopil) - UAH 199.9 thousand (around $7 thousand);
  • TRK "First Western" (Lviv) - 199.8 thousand UAH (around $7 thousand); 
  • VGTRK "Vinnytsia" (Vinnytsia) - 199 thousand UAH (around $7 thousand); 
  • Advertising and information agency RDV (Zaporizhzhya) - UAH 198.9 thousand (around $7 thousand); 
  • TTV TV and Radio Company (Kropyvnytskyi) - UAH 158,000(around $5 666); 
  • PE "TRO" Ternopil-Media "(Ternopil) - UAH 150 thousand (around $5 thousand); 
  • Uzhhorod newspaper editorial office (Uzhhorod) LLC - UAH 133.1 thousand (around $4,7 thousand).

 Legal clarification 

Funds from local budgets, intended to cover the activities of public authorities, local governments, should be spent for activity which is clearly defined by the law. Congratulations on occasion of March 8, interviews about the hobby of the mayor or his family, other similar reports do not meet the requirements of the legislation on local government coverage, and so allocating sums from the local budget to advertisement banners with March 8 greetings is misuse of budget funds. Instead, these funds should be spent, for example, for coverage of City Council sessions, even in lockdown,  either with the appropriate equipment to comply with quarantine requirements, or by means of the creation of a technical base for video conferencing, and so on.

In particular, according to the Law of Ukraine "On the Procedure for Coverage of Public Authorities and Local Self-Government Bodies in Ukraine by Mass Media", coverage of activity held by public authorities and local self-government bodies in Ukraine is obtaining, collecting, creating, disseminating, using and storing of information about activity of state authorities and local self-government bodies, meeting the informational needs of citizens, legal entities about the work of these bodies. Other use of funds may be recognized as misuse of funds, negligence, abuse of office or corruption.  

*Information is obtained through inquiries requests for information and own analysis of targeted budget programs, as well as tenders / biddings and other data obtained from open sources. The requested information concerned the following: the costs projected in the 2021 budget for the coverage of the activities of councils / regional state administrations, council / regional state administration officials, chairmen of councils / regional state administrations (all together or separately, including standing commissions or other collegial bodies) information, television, radio, means of outdoor advertising, by placing information on websites on the Internet (other than the official websites of councils / regional state administrations) or in any other way; information on the concluded agreements on coverage of the activities of councils / regional state administrations, in particular, by whom (name of the legal entity and the fiscal code or surname, name, patronymic of the natural person - entrepreneur),agreements on coverage of officials of councils / regional state administrations, chairmen of councils / regional state administrations (all together or separately, in particular as a part of standing commissions or other collegial bodies) with providing copies of such agreements and acts under such agreements; payments to the print media, television, radio, outdoor advertising operators, owners of websites on the Internet (except for official websites) for the provision of other services, namely (with a copy of contracts and acts on such services).owners of websites on the Internet (except for official websites) for the provision of other services, namely (with the provision of a copy of contracts and acts on such services).owners of websites on the Internet (except for official websites) for the provision of other services, namely (with the provision of a copy of contracts and acts on such services).).

Requests were sent to regional state administrations, regional and city councils of the following regional centers: Volyn (Lutsk), Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Mariupol (non-occupied part of Donetsk region), Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, Kropyvnytsky, Lviv, Mykolayiv, Odessa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil , Uzhhorod, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmelnytsky, Cherkasy, Chernihiv.

The data are valid as of March 25, 2021.

This study was made possible by the support of the American people through the USAID Media Program in Ukraine project, which is run by the international organization Internews. The content are the sole responsibility of the Institute for Mass Information and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US Government or Internews.

The analysis was prepared in the framework of the Media Observers Network project, which is implemented by IMI with the support of Freedom House. 

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