Life in Ukraine. Live, @ first hand.

Ostap Semerak, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers: Ukraine’s Cabinet to Cut Operating Expenses by Half


Kyiv, March 20, 2014 – “The cancellation of costs for officials charter air transfers alone can save up to UAH 150 million annually”, said Ostap Semerak, the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers during a briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. During a single recent visit of the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk to the USA, giving up on the usual charter transfer in favor of ordinary passenger flight allowed the government to save USD 200 000.

The reduction of the Cabinet of Ministers car fleet would contribute to further savings. “We do not use governmental transport”, commented Mr. Semerak. Today the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine maintains 150 passenger cars and 50 minivans and trucks. All of these would be put on an open public sale in a short while.

Another hefty budgetary item is the allowance for retired statesmen and officials. Mr. Semerak said, that “There are many former officials receiving state allowance who should not benefit from it and to be given the substantial budgetary savings”. In particular, according to the Minister, the former prime ministers still retain security guards, offices in the Cabinet of Ministers building, cottages and service staff in Koncha-Zaspa, 50% utility payments discount and a monthly allowance equal to the prime minister salary. Army Generals, Ministry of Interior Generals and Counselors of Justice enjoy similar, albeit lesser, privileges. “The privileges apply to Mr. Yanukovych, as a former Prime Minister, as well. We initiate the issue of cancelling the same”.

The Minister confirmed that dozens of Mezhyhirya service staff were registered as the Cabinet of Ministers support staff – translators, professional expert evaluation specialists, security and defense sector staff. “They are easy to identify, but difficult to fire, as they are subject to labor law. However, we are looking for legal ways to do that. Some the employees have already been dismissed, others have been notified of their pending dismissal,” Mr. Semerak explained.

The Cabinet of Ministers furthermore resolved to restructure and reduce staff list. “On the one hand, we must shrink the staff, on the other, the Cabinet of Ministers took over new functions from the President of Ukraine as a result of constitutional reform,” Mr. Semerak said.

The standing order procedures are undergoing simplification and improvement process, as the period from a subject matter submission for consideration to its adoption, previously being as long as 194 days, is now reduced twice. “The new amendments to the standing rules are now being prepared – the terms are expedited even more”, the Minister said.

Mr. Semerak also commented on a “burning issue of appointments to senior positions” and the fact that the new appointments are really scarce as of now. “Let me explain: we are very scrupulous on this matter. We are trying to correct all the preceding mistakes”. “All applicants to the state positions present their programs at the Cabinet meeting where we discuss each candidate”, Mr. Semerak said.

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