Local authorities received in the period of January-September this year more than UAH 20 billion, which, in theory, should be spent on road repairs, Infrastructure Minister Andrii Pyvovarskyi said in an interview with Novaya Vremya.
According to him, this amount of money was generated from the 5% excise duty on gasoline at the pump, which goes directly into local budgets. "The government adopted a decision on fiscal decentralization at the beginning of this year. Local budgets received about UAH 20 billion in additional revenue in the first nine months of the year. How much of this was spent on roads? Kopecks," the minister said.
According to him, there are villages with millions of hryvnia currently lying in their accounts. "They performed repairs, bought machinery, raised their own salaries, and repaired windows in the village administration building. However, they are not building roads. There are other cases. For example, the Lvov region, where the money spent on road maintenance this year from local budgets is more than the money spent from the central budget," Pyvovarskyi said.
He also said that there is a general excise tax on imported fuel, in addition to the excise tax on gasoline at the pump, but the proceeds from this tax cannot be used to finance repair and construction of roads directly because the corresponding law does not yet exist.
"According to our estimates, this is UAH 35-40 billion per year. The idea is that this money should be spent on roads, but it goes into the general fund of the state budget. Parliamentary deputies have prepared a draft law that provides for creation of a road fund and use of all the money from the excise tax exclusively for road repairs. The situation involving roads will change radically when this law is adopted," said the minister.
According to Pyvovarskyi, maintenance of Ukraine’s road network requires UAH 25-30 billion per year. This year, UAH 3.4 billion was allocated from Ukravtodor’s budget and UAH 700 million hryvnia was allocated for the Carpathian program (UAH 550 million for repair of the Lvov – Biberka - Ivano-Frankovsk highway and UAH 150 million for repair of the Chernovtsy - Ivano-Frankivsk - Mukachevo highway). In addition, an experimental customs program was launched in the Odessa, Volyn, Lvov, and Chernovtsy regions this year, under which 50% of revenue in excess of the target is spent on roads. "Probably, UAH 200 million has already gone into this,” the minister said, referring to Ukraine’s road budget for this year.