According to the results of a working session on road infrastructure, which was held on July 19, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a Decree on creating conditions for development and improvement the quality of roads. The document provides a number of measures aimed at creating safe and comfortable conditions for road users, developing a network of high-quality roads and creating favorable business conditions.
In particular, the Cabinet of Ministers should ensure the review of qualification criteria, financial and technical requirements for public procurement in accordance with the best world practices by January 1, 2020. In addition, conditions should be created for the use of the latest technologies and materials during construction, reconstruction, repair of roads. The relevant regulatory and technical documents should also be reviewed in order to ensure the European quality of highways. Also, customers must engage an independent engineering consultant in the field of road construction (FIDIC) on a competitive basis at the stages of procurement, performance, warranty, construction, reconstruction and repair of highways.
During the meeting, the Head of State noted that he had visited several regions in recent days and got acquainted with the course of repairs on highways. According to him, there are many problems with financing, transparency of tenders, the professionalism of contractors, the quality of work performed and they all need an immediate solution. In addition, there should be a plan with a clear list of roads and terms of their repair.
Head of the Office of the President Andriy Bohdan noted the necessity to systematically combat corruption in the road sector and audit the existing treaties. He gave an example of the scheme, when a large amount that should be allocated for road repair through a transparent tender "divided" on several hundred pieces of the road and avoided the competition. There is also a question for the work of "Ukravtodor" and its management.
Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Yuriy Lavrenyuk said that there is a blueprint for reform "Ukravtodor", which can be implemented in a few months and requires the elimination of controller’s functions. Instead, the quality of roads and work performed should be monitored by a foreign audit company with respective status.
"I am afraid that while we reform, we will spend both money and time. Maybe will make a plan in the near future and give the construction of priority roads to leading Western companies, won’t we? And in parallel, we will reform,"the President suggested.
According to Deputy Head of the Office of the President Oleksiy Goncharuk, there were identified several priority projects which can be implemented by the end of this year. He noticed that there is a Road Fund, but its funds are not enough to finance all needs, therefore, several options for additional sources of income are proposed.
"The situation with excise taxes should be regulated. A lot of fuel is sold under the "gray scheme" without paying excise taxes in Ukraine. According to our expectations, we will be able to receive additional revenues by $ 1 billion. Another opportunity for growth is a development a good work with International Financial Institutions. We have met them, and they potentially declare their readiness to work more actively if Ukrainian side fulfills its obligations, as the sample on available credit programs is about 20%," Oleksiy Goncharuk said, adding that foreign partners are also ready to provide about 1 billion dollars.
"According to the World Bank, it is first and foremost necessary to make major repair of 24 thousand km of main highways, which requires UAH 150 billion and another 15 billion annually to maintain them in proper condition. It is real to do in three years," Expert of Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) Olexander Kubrakov noted.
"We need to build priority road. There are cities wuthout airport, railways, and now there are no roads," Volodymyr Zelenskyy added.
"It is necessary to adopt a law on concessions to attract large companies that build high-quality roads," Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova stressed.
The participants of the meeting discussed measures to maintain road safety. Representatives of "Ukravtodor" and the State Service of Ukraine for Transport Security also took part in the meeting.