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The first reading of the state budget in Parliament had particular resonance due to the increase of Ukrainian MPs’ salaries. Exactly from the correction of resonance decision, as reported the chairman of parliament, a new plenary sitting will start. There is a strong desire to correct the past, but also there’s no clear understanding of how to do it now.
Let us remind, the problem is in the Parliament resolution "The conclusions and proposals to the draft Law of Ukraine on State Budget of Ukraine for 2017", is exactly in the paragraphs 3 and 4, in which it was proposed to "tie" the monthly labor payment of the deputies to the size of a living wage.
Article 48 of the Verkhovna Rada Regulations allows to cancel previously adopted decision, if the document is not signed yet. However, if document has come into force, the only way to change it – is to declare invalid.
To correct the past, in the near future we will have to act carefully. According to the Head of Legislative Initiatives Department Svitlana Matviyenko, "clearly, it is necessary to cancel the paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 and paragraph 5 - in the part concerning this topic. Besides, if we will estimate all the violations, which this decision was adopted with, we can say that it is, in principle, outside the framework the legal culture. I propose to look at the problem more broadly; it is not just about legal niceties or the budget for 2017. We are talking about the ethical and professional standards of parliamentary work. "
"Formally, it will be difficult to solve the situation. We will need to take a separate document that regulates these issues - or revoke the earlier decision. This means - to make a new draft resolution for the parliamentary committees," – emphasizes Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Papiyev.
People's deputy and one of the initiators of the "salary" innovations Oleksiy Mushak believe that to correct adopted decision – it is the right of people's deputies. And it will be implemented: "Procedurally – we should introduce a draft resolution, which proposes to amend the budget decision- either to delete these paragraphs or to rewrite them”.
But this would not solve the problem.
Maybe Cabinet will solve the issue?
If we assume that Parliament, for whatever reason, will not correct the draft resolution, whether the Cabinet can do something about this?
As Mykhailo Papiyev told, in the story with MPs' salaries the government "is the subject of this process. And the maximum that it can do – it’s during the preparations for the second reading of the draft state budget for 2017 not to include in expenses funding for MPs in declared parameters. However, within this year, the government can do absolutely nothing. We have savings in salary fund in amount of 66 million USD, and the money is enough to finance the Parliament from the 1st of November, including those expenditure items in entirety. "
According to Svitlana Matviyenko, the government still has some room to maneuver, "Cabinet can convincingly not to include these articles in the draft state budget for 2017 in preparation for the second reading. Its members could use argument about the absence of Verkhovna Rada relevant committee conclusion as the deputies’ salaries are administered not by the Budget Committee, but the Committee on Rules and Organization of work of the Verkhovna Rada. And this, in fact, is the main problem of chairman Andriy Parubiy ".
However the “salary” paragraphs themselves are not a violation because they do not provide changes to the current year budget. "Low budget discipline, violation of terms of consideration of the budget in parliament - this is not a problem of Groysman’s government, but a history of the last 10-15 years," - draws attention Svitlana Matviyenko.
What is even more narrows down the range of the government's ability to intervene.
Fairly speaking, both Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada had the possibility to avoid resonance paragraphs 3 and 4. According to the people's deputy Olexiy Mushak, on 19 October, meeting of the parliamentary committee on budget issues was attended by representatives of the government. In particular, the Minister of Finance, Ministry Secretary and others. They were able to express their position, which they did. But this is the deputies who should vote for the text of the draft resolution.
Directly at the plenary session MP Viktor Pynzenyk urged colleagues to remove paragraphs 3 and 4 from the text of resolution. And it would have been easier to do it earlier than now to think about correcting the results.
It seems like Parliament will have to come back to the issue of wages more than once. In addition to the adjustments in the "budget" project, a bill to strengthen the essential responsibility of MPs for their absence at the sessions is expected to be registered on Monday. "Generally speaking, if you will not attend a certain number of sessions, then 50% of your salary will be removed,” – says Olexiy Mushak.
On this scheme Ukrainian MP monthly receives about 14 000 UAH (almost 550 USD), out of which the salary is 6109 UAH plus bonuses. The total amount before taxes is 17 630 UAH (almost 680 USD).
For deputies – it’s not enough, but for many of their voters – it’s a lot of money.