Citizens are ready for public control of budget spending. At the same time they don’t possess necessary practical skills. This is the conclusion from the public discussion “Civil control of public finance: participatory budgeting in Ukrainian”, held in Dnipropetrovsk. Representatives of local authority, civil activists and Center CASE Ukraine’s experts took part in the discussion.
There is a state monopoly for funds disposal – the official decides, for what and how to spend money, and the official controls use of the funds. Thus it creates conflict of interests and the ground for collective responsibility, told the executive director of Center CASE Ukraine Dmytro Boyarchuk. Nevertheless, a tendency of involving public to the budget process exists in the whole world. There is the evidence of Brazilian city Porto-Alegre, where activists obtained the right for disposal of 20% of local budget. As a result, the city became the best in the country in terms of life quality.
Other participants of discussion were quite excited by the example of Porto-Alegre. The head of Dnipropetrovsk regional Association of Co-owners’ of Multi-Apartment Houses Unions and Housing and Building Co-operatives “Nash dim” Kateryna Chyzhyk told about positive experience of Dnipropetrovsk citizens in the attempts to influence local budget’s disposal. Particularly, people were involved in the programs of capital repair of their houses. The feature of these programs was that the head of the house committee necessarily took part in the budget commission, and the funds were disposes for each concrete house, the inhabitants of which were informed, how much funds were spent, and could evaluate the result.
At the same time it is still hard to obtain necessary information from the officials. The deputy at Dnipropetrovsk city council Serhiy Zhukov shared his experience of it. It’s not a secret that the officials often provide the data not in time, not in the full volume or don’t provide at all. In such cases you should remember that the persistent violator of law on public information should be not fined, but involved to public work.
The round table has drawn the interest of the local media. By the link you may watch the video plot from the channel 9 (Dnipropetrovsk) on the participatory budgeting.
The event is a part of the project titled “The Price of the State: Reform Monitoring”. CASE Ukraine implements this project together with East Europe Foundation and Media agency “Promedia Consulting” with the support of Open Society Institute, European Union and UNITER.