Ukrainian MPs propose selling land to foreigners?

Author : Oleksiy Kushch

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine’s current land reform is like a slippery earthworm in the hands of a new government
17:47, 18 October 2019

Open source

Ukraine’s current land reform is like a slippery earthworm in the hands of a new government. As soon as with the help of mobilizing social resistance it is possible to achieve at least a “doubt” about the correctness of the “reform”, new workarounds immediately appear, followed by the harmonious columns of lobbyists for “liberalization” of the land market.

It’s not without reason that the primitive draft law on opening the land market was launched almost in parallel with another draft of legislative amendments (No. 2194 dated 10/01/2019) prepared by a group of MPs from the pro-government faction.

So, what is the “perk up” of new legislative tactics? First, the most counter-draft bill is launched, stuffed with toxic norms.

Related: Why Ukrainian labor migrants leave for Poland

And note, it is practically ignored by the expert environment. Although its level of toxicity is not less than that of the framework law. After all, the latter sets the initial parameters for opening a land market, and it systematically regulates the process of land use and the turnover of agricultural land.

The explanatory note reads: "An important task is to deeply rethink the role and place of state bodies in regulating land relations in Ukraine."

First of all, it is planned to devalue the centralized control of land resources by the State Geocadastre as much as possible. This idea is hidden behind two good wishes: strengthening the role of local authorities and the desire to “remove” the “corrupt and ineffective cadastre”. No doubt, decentralization is a popular trend, and only the lazy do not scold the inventory.

Related: Servant of the People MPs offers to allow foreigners to buy Ukrainian land

But what would the “right” reformers do? They would not destroy the cadastre, arguing that the current system is "bad", but would create an effective model.

One of the best cadastres in Europe is Estonian cadastre, developed on the basis of blockchain technology and the Torrens legal title system, which provides a clear mechanism for protecting owners / investors, payment of state compensation in case of loss of an asset, and the principle of unconditional recognition of an asset as a bona fide owner.

Systemic investors will never come to an economy without clear mechanisms for protecting property titles, a transparent cadastre, but which easily corrupt local authorities.

Non-residents will receive the right to buy non-agricultural land outside the settlements, and local authorities will have the right to independently change the purpose of the land. Initially, local authorities decide to withdraw agricultural land from agricultural circulation and change their purpose.  The scheme works even if the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land is extended or the market model itself is substantially revised regarding the ability of foreign companies to buy arable land. Moreover, the bill provides for the abolition of the procedure for coordinating changes in the intended purpose of especially valuable lands and lands of a nature reserve and nature conservation fund.

Related: Most of Ukrainians oppose opening land market, - survey

In the case of the adoption of the law, it will be possible to change the purpose of the reserves on the basis that, they say, the reserve status will be preserved for the land with a new target. What does this mean?

In addition, they plan to remove the norm according to which the Cabinet agreed on the sale of state land to foreign companies (it is clear that the current government is not very optimistic about its cadence, and the sponsors are determined to work longer).

As an unnecessary rudiment, they want to cancel the agrochemical certification of lands under the pretext that now passports are issued without leaving the place and for a certain bribe. If the sanitary and epidemiological stations took bribes, this does not mean that you need to completely abolish control in the catering sector and constantly poison Ukrainians with "shawarma." But the earth is not "shawarma." In the case of poisoning, you can simply “clean” and sit in a cozy “room” without windows for a couple of days, and canceling the expertise and agrochemical passports is the way to complete degradation of Ukrainian soils and switching to monocultures.

Related: Agrarian Committee of parliament recommends to adopt land market bill

We have already largely lost the quality of our products as a result of the abolition of standardization, and the most popular brand today is Belarus products.

Especially naive is the thesis of that “the problem of land depletion by land users is one of the consequences of a long moratorium on the alienation of agricultural land, in which the use of agricultural land is mainly carried out not by their owners, but by persons who have the right to temporary (and mostly short) use.

And the thesis about temporary/short-term use of land sounds too selective - when discussing the draft law on liberalization of the land market, we were "treated" with information about 50-year lease agreements.


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