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Finmin hails giving schools, hospitals over to local budgets

"Whether it was right or wrong is no subject for discussions."

The Ministry of Finance believes the decision on financing of schools and hospitals from local budgets was correct, deputy minister Serhiy Marchenko stated on Friday, 21 October at the round table conference jointly organized by Gorshenin Institute and Reanimation Reform Package.

"We have been much criticized for shifting the responsibility of maintaining educational and health care institutions down to local governments. We are in discussion with the Association of [Ukrainian cities] and with the experts whether the calculations have been correct," Marchenko argued.

"While calculations are debatable, I do not believe we should discuss whether the decision in itself was right or wrong. Because it was correct. I really think that local authorities have the capacity to provide funding for these institutions."

"For over 25 years we have treated education and health institutions as a kept woman. Such an approach allowed a good MP or a mayor to build a new school or a health care facility without giving to much thought to future funding. And then the state was expected to step in and finance. Now the decision was taken that these institutions should be funded from local budgets. I believe this decision was absolutely correct and weighted, although in some cases the government may provide funding for the regions with scarce resources," Marchenko said.

He stressed the belief that it is better to delegate authority down than take away resources from local governments.