VR promises to pass national budget by the end of the week

VR promises to pass national budget by the end of the week
Photo: Unian

Today, the Cabinet of Ministers plans to introduce to the parliament the draft of the National Budget for 2015 and amendments to the budget and tax codes. The government plans that the documents will be adopted by VR deputies by the end of the week. The parliament promises to meet these deadlines, though it does not rule out considerable amendments to the final version of the document drafted by the current government.

Package of disputes

Yesterday, an extended meeting of the VR Coalition Council which Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk attended was held. Leader of the Samopomich faction Oleh Berezyuk told Capital that the subject of discussion was the draft of the National Budget for 2015, as well as amendments to the Budget Code and the Tax Code.

“A complicated and tough, albeit constructive, discussion is being held. We see that the previous meeting with Yatsenyuk on Friday was not in vain and the premier is inclined to take into account our proposals on filling the budget,” Berezyuk told Capital, noting that on Sunday the coalition also discussed the draft budget with ministries responsible for drafting of the document.

“The Cabinet is mainly saying on whom and how it will economize. In our opinion, this is an attempt to divert the public’s attention from the problems of the untouchable exorbitant incomes of oligarchs. We cannot let this happen. Samopomich proposes to focus on ways of filling the budget, for example, by introducing purchase of the rights for the leasing of land, which could bring in tens of billions of hryvnia,” said Berezyuk. He predicted that a package consideration of the draft budget and amendments to the budget and tax codes will not happen.

A source in the Petro Poroshenko Bloc said the faction also received the green light from VR Speaker Volodymyr Groysman to not consider that government’s documents as a package deal. Member of the faction Oleksandra Kuzhel assured the publication that Batkivshchyna will vote against such a principle. “Members of our faction understand perfectly well that by January 15, when the IMF mission returns to Ukraine, the government must present a final budget. However, there will not be “general approval”. The premier will have to hold many meetings and persuade the deputies,” Kuzhel told Capital, assuring that there are many members in the coalition disenchanted with the reduction of social benefits and preservation of privileges for big businesses.

People’s deputy Ihor Shurma (Opposition Bloc) does not rule out that the Cabinet of Ministers may consciously provoke a conflict in the parliamentary session hall regarding the package voting in favor of its proposed documents. “The coalition that claims it has a constitutional majority of 300 voices may not garner even the required 226 votes in voting for the budget. That will be the case if they try to push through the budget in its current version without amendments. Some of the members of the coalition may vote against and then the country will greet the New Year with the old budget and the government will dispose of the money at its own discretion,” said Shurma.

Hurry-up drafting

Be that as it may, the faction of the presidential party has no plans of postponing the approval of the national budget for next year. “I am inclined to think that on Thursday we will pass the budget. Otherwise, we will leave all budget and social security bodies without financing,” people’s deputy Valeriy Patskan (PPB) told Capital. He said today a meeting of the PPB faction will be held to discuss the issue of the national budget.

A source in the Radical Party faction predicted that the draft of the national budget will be submitted to the parliament on Monday evening, seeing as the full text of the document is not yet ready. He said there is an agreement between the government and the coalition to vote for the national budget and amendments to the aforementioned codes in their first reading on Tuesday. “On Wednesday talks will be head and the main haggling will take place when the documents are submitted to the parliamentary committees. Then the Cabinet will try to get the support of the deputies so that the budget in its full version is adopted on Thursday,” the source said, adding that there is information that average citizens on the streets will be involved in the haggling between the deputies and the government.

Independent deputy Boryslav Bereza told Capital that according to information he possesses tomorrow it is expected that people dissatisfied with the reduction of social benefits will hit the streets in demonstration. “The special forces have information that representatives of the Afghanistan war veterans and labor unions will also come out in protest. Clashes cannot be ruled out,” said Bereza.

People’s deputy Oleksandr Sochka (People’s Front) predicts that the events on the streets could influence the behavior of deputies in the parliamentary session hall. “Some deputies may try to improve their image through tough debates,” Sochka told Capital.

A source of the publication in the PPB faction assures that the fact that the budget should be adopted by the end of this week has been agreed to between the government and the Presidential Administration. Samopomich is not ruling out that deputies will have to hold an additional session on Saturday to guarantee this. 

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