Analysis of the Agenda of the Plenary Meeting of the Verkhovna Rada

Tue, 29/09/2020 - 09:45

1. Draft Resolution No. 3053а-4 (author: D. Razumkov) “ON MAKING CHANGES TO THE AGENDA OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE OF NINTH CONVOCATION” – a total of 30 draft laws are to be included in the agenda of the session.


2. Draft Law No. 4119 “ON AMENDING THE LAW OF UKRAINE ON THE STATE BUDGET OF UKRAINE FOR 2020” (REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 11 OF THE LAW OF UKRAINE “ON THE NATURAL GAS MARKET”) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis) – the bill provides for conducting mutual settlement between Ukrnafta, Naftogaz and the Budget for an actual amount of 42.5 billion UAH. Ukrnafta has a debt to the Budget dating back to previous periods related to payment of the profit tax, rental payments, and penal sanctions for 30.35 billion UAH, which has been appealed to court. Moreover, based on the results of the sale (delivery) of natural gas, Ukrnafta is to pay to Naftogaz a VAT and a profit tax amounting to 6.2 billion UAH. The bill establishes that Ukrnafta will make its current payments (for 2020) related to the profit tax, VAT and rental not in accordance with the usual procedure of payment to the general fund of the State Budget, but to a special fund and that all those amounts paid to the special fund will be deemed to discharge the aforementioned Ukrnafta debts (30.35 + 6.2 = 36.55 billion UAH).

On the other hand, the State has not been performing its duties in respect of Naftogaz related to compensation for economically justified expenditures required by interests of society as a whole. The amount accumulated in the past few years is already as high as 32.2 billion UAH. When that amount is transferred to Naftogaz, the latter will be obliged to pay a profit tax of 5.95 billion UAH. The Draft Law provides that those 5.95 billion hryvnias will also be paid by Naftogaz to the special fund rather than to the general fund of the State Budget.

All those resources – 36.55+5.95=42,5 billion UAH from the special fund – will be used as compensation for the economically justified expenditures of Naftogaz required by the common interests of society (32.2 billion UAH) and for financing state measures aimed at supporting infrastructural projects (10,3 billion UAH, including 1.3 billion, for the renewal and modernization of the passenger carriage and infrastructure; 5 billion, for the creation of a national air carrier; and 4 billion, for the restoration of bridges on roads).

FOR (+) 4119: settlement of Ukrnafta’s debt to the State Budget without long court proceedings; securing the State against Ukrnafta losing the case in court; additional funding for infrastructural projects.

AGAINST (-) 4119: the complexity and intricacy of the system of mutual settlement of debts; factual forgiving Ukrnafta’s debt of 36.7 billion UAH which it would otherwise have to pay to the Budget; lack of information on the real state of the judicial dispute concerning Ukrnafta’s appeal against its tax debt; the declarative nature of the norm according to which Ukrnafta commits itself to take action, within a 10-day period, to withdraw its claims related to challenging the debts that it is required to pay based on decisions of regulatory agencies, since Ukrnafta has its own managing bodies (the Board, the Supervisory Board) which have economic competence to adopt decisions on withdrawing claims filed with courts. Non-receipt of funds to the general fund of the state budget and rent to local budgets. Violation of the right of the MPs to submit alternative drafts.


3. Draft Law No. 4120 (D. Arakhamia) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis and at once as a whole) “ON AMENDING SECTION XX ‘TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS’ OF THE TAX CODE OF UKRAINE (REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF ADMINISTERING TAXES RELATED TO TRANSACTIONS PERFORMED UNDER PARAGRAPHS 31 AND 32, ARTICLE 14 OF THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON THE STATE BUDGET OF UKRAINE FOR 2020’)” – the bill provides for conducting setoffs and mutual settlements provided for by relevant provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020” in accordance with Draft Law No. 4119. Therefore, Draft Law No. 4119 is completely dependent on Draft Law No. 4119.

FOR (+) 4120: analogous to the strengths of Draft Law No 4119.

AGAINST 4120 (-): analogous to the weaknesses of Draft Law No. 4119.


4. Draft Law No. 3900 (I. Sovsun) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis) “ON AMENDING THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON EDUCATION’ TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL LITERATURE” – the bill introduces the concept of “educational literature” and establishes requirements regarding it, in particular to prevent cases of discrimination based on sex, race, ethnic origin, health condition, family composition, etc.

FOR (+) 3900: improvement of the quality of school manuals, textbooks and other educational literature; unrestricted access to free electronic versions of school manuals (electronic manuals) for attainment of general secondary education.

AGAINST (-) 3900: uncertainty regarding the sources for funding the implementation of the law; no allocation of funds for the examination and publication of new manuals; strengthening of centralization and regulation of the process of admission of manuals to the educational process.


5. Draft Law No. 4117 (A. Zahoruiko) (only to be placed on the agenda) “ON AMENDING THE ELECTION CODE OF UKRAINE AND CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF UKRAINE REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF ORGANIZING THE PREPARATION AND CONDUCT OF ELECTION DURING THE QUARANTINE PERIOD ESTABLISHED TO PREVENT THE SPREAD IN THE TERRITORY OF UKRAINE OF ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS AND DANGEROUS INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND THE IMPROVEMENT OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ELECTORAL LEGISLATION” – the bill proposes checking body temperature of voters at entrances to polling stations and asking them how they feel; provides for setting up a separate booth and ballot box for persons with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases; prohibits all persons with elevated body temperature (with disease symptoms) except voters from staying at a polling station; prohibits persons without personal protective equipment from entering polling stations. Errors and inconsistencies will be removed from the Electoral Code: the permissible value of campaign products will be increased from 1 to 65 hryvnias; an oblast party organization will be allowed to use one election fund and account if it nominates candidates to all levels of the representative branch in the oblast; the result of the expression of the will of a voter who has voted for an electoral list only, without placing a mark next to the last name of a specific candidate, will be clarified; the specifics of “demarcation” of election districts in Kyiv will be eliminated; and the period of engagement of the National Guard in the protection of all components of the electoral process will be reduced.

FOR (+) 4117: preventing the spread of the epidemic during the elections; conduct of local elections based on a clearer legislation devoid of inconsistencies; protection of citizens’ electoral rights; fewer possibilities for improprieties at local elections.

AGAINST (-) 4117: changes to the electoral legislation when the campaign is already underway; failure to remove technical errors from other laws (such as exclusion of rayon and oblast councils from the Law on Local Self-Government or continued mention of elected starostas).


6. Draft Law No. 4099 (D. Arakhamia) (only to be placed on the agenda) “ON AMENDING PARAGRAPH 4, SECTION X ‘FINAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS’ OF THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT’ REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF MAKING PURCHASES DURING THE ELECTORAL PROCESS” – if, before January 1, 2022, a district (territorial) commission adopts a decision on making purchases, an authorized person will be appointed to organize procurement activities and conduct elections in Ukraine.

FOR (+) 4099: timely logistical support for the organization and conduct of elections.

AGAINST (-) 4099: lack of competition and oversight may be conducive to abuse of power, purchase of low-quality items; lack of justification for extending the norm until 2022.


7. Draft Law No. 3748 (Cabinet of Ministers) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis) “ON AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF UKRAINE TO IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF CIVIL SERVICE” – the bill cancels the so-called “golden parachute” for civil servants of the highest category (“category A”) – a practice when within 4 months after change of the Government (or replacement of a Minister or head of the respective central executive body) a top official can be dismissed with simultaneous appointment for a six-month period to a reserve position outside the state body. The possibility to promote to a higher position is introduced (but only within the official’s current positional category A, B or C) for civil servants receiving excellent marks within one year from the day of evaluation of their performance. A Unified Human Resources Management Information System is introduced. This will result in further depoliticization of the operation of the Commission of the Highest Ranks of Civil Servants: previously, the Commission held a competition for category A vacancies and nominated three candidates for appointment; now it will be obliged to nominate 5 candidates; and a person seeking the position of head of a state service must have command of one of the following foreign languages: English, German, French, or Spanish (which used to be the official language of the Council of Europe). A pool of candidates will be formed, involving winners who have not been appointed. The following essential contract terms will be removed: 2) special requirements for persons seeking a civil service position; 6) mode of work and recreation. There will be a decrease in the number of persons with whom a contract can be concluded (from 7% of the total number of staff positions of civil servants in the respective body down to 3%). The bill proposes that ranks be automatically awarded once in every three years of work. It also proposes that a civil servant who has received a negative estimate must not be granted any incentives or be awarded the next rank within the following twelve months (the current requirement is that such official must be dismissed). Bonuses for civil servants’ ranks are cancelled; monthly bonuses will also be cancelled, while quarterly bonuses will remain; the seniority bonus will be reduced from the current 3% of the fixed salary to 2% for each calendar year of service, provided that the total will not exceed 30% of the fixed salary (at present, the limit is 50%). It is proposed that responsibility be strengthened for civil servants’ repeated disciplinary offense, by way of using heavier punishments (censure —> announcement of incomplete service compliance —> dismissal).

FOR (+) 3748: a systemic revision of the Law on Civil Service; ruling out arbitrary dismissals of category A civil servants which led to Budget losses on account of funding of compensation payments to them for having been taken off the payroll; introduction of promotion of civil servants; bringing back competition-based grounds for appointment to a position of another, higher category – cancellation of transitional provisions which provided for special terms (in connection with the coronavirus epidemic) for selection (without any competition) to civil service positions.

AGAINST (-) 3748: risk of decrease in support for civil servants; further deterioration of the problem of unjustified cancellations of competitions for positions of higher categories in case all the candidates in the top three are considered “inappropriate.”


8. Draft Law No. 4051 (H. Tretiakova) (first reading, Committee Opinion still unavailable, though its meeting was held on September 28) “ON AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS TO IMPROVE LEGAL REGULATION OF REMOTE WORK” – the bill demarcates the concepts and legal regulation of flexible working mode, remote work, and work at home; details are provided for the employer’s obligations to familiarize the employee with whom a remote work contract has been concluded with the internal work regulations, collective employment agreement, the employer’s local normative acts, reports and other relevant documents; grounds are specified for the introduction of flexible working hours, etc.

FOR (+) 4051: clear regulation of the issue of remote work; creation of legal mechanisms for protection of employees during remote work; ensuring the right to recreation.

AGAINST (-) 4051: complete autonomy of employees poses the threat of increase in the number of failures in operation of enterprise; negative impact on the financial results of companies.


9. Draft Laws Nos. 3287 and 3287-1 (first reading, the Committee recommends that No. 3287-1 be adopted as a whole) “On amendments to the Customs Code OF UKRAINE IN CONNECTION WITH THE adoption of the Law OF UKRAINE ‘On amendments to some legislative acts OF UKRAINE ON THE FACILITATION OF pre-trial investigation of certain categories of criminal offenses’” – technical amendments to the Customs Code regarding the replacement of the word “crime” with the words “criminal offense,” as well as the replacement of the term “criminal encroachments” with the phrase “criminal-illegal encroachments.” Some terminological inconsistencies in the Electoral Code and the Law “On Peculiarities of State Regulation of Business Entities Related to the Sale and Export of Timber” are eliminated, namely: the term “revenue and fee bodies” is replaced by “tax authorities.” Similar changes have previously been made to the Ukrainian legislation.

(+): elimination of inconsistencies and contradictions in the terminology of legislative acts.

(-): inconsistency of previously adopted laws; wasting the time of the parliament on technical amendments.


10. Draft Law No. 3961 (first reading, the Committee recommends adoption as a whole) “ON AMENDING PARAGRAPH 1 OF SECTION XII ‘FINAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS’ OF THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON CONCESSION’” – the bill proposes postponing from October 1, 2020 to January 1, 2022 the deadline for the introduction of practical operation of the electronic trading system – a two-tier information and telecommunications system with databases and electronic platforms for concession tenders and competitive dialogue in electronic form.

(+): the practical impossibility of implementing the relevant electronic trading system by October 1, 2020, as required by law.

(-): failure of the Government to fulfill the tasks established by law; lack of responsibility of specific officials due to whose actions the parliament should support the forced postponement of the launch of the electronic trading system.


11. Draft Laws Nos. 3577, 3577-1 (first reading, the Committee recommends that Draft Law No. 3577 be adopted as a basis) “ON AMENDMENTS TO SOME LEGISLATIVE ACTS ON THE PROTECTION OF THE HOUSING RIGHTS OF ORPHAN CHILDREN AND CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF PARENTAL CARE” – the bill proposes that, after reaching the age of 23, orphans and children deprived of parental care preserve the right to receive emergency housing and that they be granted the right to receive monetary compensation for housing.

(+): strengthening the protection of housing rights of orphans.

(-): the age at which orphans and children deprived of parental care may receive monetary compensation for their housing has not been determined (registration begins from the age of 16); additional budget costs.


12. Draft Law No. 2443 (O. Litvinov) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis) “ON AMENDING ARTICLE 46 OF THE HOUSING CODE OF UKRAINIAN SSR REGARDING OUT-OF-TURN PROVISION OF HOUSING FOR PERSONS REGISTERED BEFORE JANUARY 01, 1993, AND LIVING IN A TEMPORARY RESIDENCE” – the bill proposes that housing be provided out of turn to persons requiring improvement of housing conditions and registered before January 1, 1993, who have no own housing, have not been provided with housing by the State, and also have not used their right to privatization of housing for reasons beyond their control.

FOR (+) 2443: solution to the problem of provision of housing for individuals who have been on the waiting list for housing already for more than 27 years and are living in temporary residences; the implementation of the law will not require any additional spending from the State Budget.

AGAINST (-) 2443: increase in the number of persons entitled to out-of-turn provision with housing; declarative nature of changes – this can lead to the State’s failure to implement the social guarantees; creation of grounds for Ukrainians to bring cases against Ukraine before the European Court of Human Rights.


13. Draft Law No. 3628 (Cabinet of Ministers) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis) “ON AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF UKRAINE TO STRENGTHEN LIABILITY FOR OFFENSES IN THE SPHERE OF SALE OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES AND LIQUIDS USED IN ELECTRONIC CIGARERTTES TO CHILDREN” – the bill extends the prohibitions and restrictions relating to the use and sale of traditional tobacco products to electronic cigarettes and liquids used in electronic cigarettes; it establishes, from January 1, 2021, administrative liability for violating those prohibitions and restrictions, as well as for violating the rules of trade in other excisable products (beer, low-alcohol beverages, etc.) in the form of a fine of 6,800 to 23,00 UAH.

FOR (+) 3628: protection of children against electronic cigarettes, vapes and aromatic liquids for smoking, which have been steadily gaining popularity on the market, especially among teenagers; alignment of the Ukrainian anti-tobacco legislation with the European legislation.

AGAINST (-) 3628: as a rule, strengthened liability does not lead to a decrease in the rate of offenses; therefore, actions of a more systemic nature are required, in particular an awareness campaign for healthy living, also focusing on harm not only from tobacco products but also from electronic cigarettes.


14. Draft Law No. 3039а (Cabinet of Ministers) (first reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted as a basis and at once as a whole) “ON AMENDING THE TAX CODE OF UKRAINE REGARDING THE RATE OF VALUE ADDED TAX ON CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR THE PERIOD OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF UKRAINE AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND ON GRANTING A LOAN ON THE TERMS OF RELATED ASSISTANCE AND OTHER STATE DEBT ISSUES” – the bill provides for a clearer definition of the tax from which Polish enterprises are exempt and for the exemption mechanism under the Agreement between the Governments of Ukraine and Poland on Granting a Loan on the Terms of Related Assistance dated September 9, 2015. For the period of implementation of that agreement, a zero VAT rate is applied to transactions pertaining to delivery of goods/services in Ukraine by legal entities registered in Poland / representative offices registered in Ukraine, in accordance with agreements on development and outfitting of State border protection units, international motor vehicle crossing points, and projects for construction, reconstruction and overhaul of motor roads of the Western region. Technical changes will be made in connection with the creation of the Debt Agency of Ukraine.

FOR (+) 3039а: additional amounts allocated for the development of international motor vehicle crossing points; receipt of international assistance.

AGAINST (-) 3039а: the provisions of the Draft Law are at odds with the agreement, namely, the agreement is about near-border road infrastructure and outfitting of crossing points precisely at the border between Ukraine and Poland and other projects agreed upon by the parties. Violation of the principle of fair competition in the road construction sphere.


15. Draft Law No. 3642 (S. Kalchenko) (second reading, the Committee recommends that the bill be adopted in the second reading and as a whole) “ON AMENDING THE RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE, THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON THE STATUS OF PEOPLE’S DEPUTY OF UKRAINE’, THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON THE COMMITTEES OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE’ REGARDING THE REASONS FOR ABSENCE OF PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES OF UKRAINE AT PLENARY MEETINGS OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE AND MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEES OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE” – the bill expands the list of valid reasons for the absence of an MP at plenary meetings and meetings of VR Committees by adding the following: performance of assignments from the VR Chairperson or Committee; exercise of rights and implementation of duties established by all procedural Codes (Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine, Code of Criminal Procedure), the Law ‘On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”; participation in events conducted as part of the activities of permanent delegations; obtaining services in the sphere of health (according to a medical opinion).

FOR (+) 3642: presenting in detail the exhaustive list of valid reasons for the absence of MPs at plenary of Committee meetings.

AGAINST (-) 3642: providing the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada or the Committees with the possibility to independently adopt (without a relevant assignment from the parliament) decisions necessitating MPs’ absence at plenary meetings.


16. Draft Law No. 3424 (D. Pryputen) (second reading, the Committee proposes that the bill be adopted in the second reading and as a whole) “ON AMENDING CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF UKRAINE ON EXEMPTION FROM PAYING THE COURT FEE” – individuals are exempt from paying the court fee in case of appealing court rulings in cases about administrative offenses.

FOR (+) 3424: elimination of conflicts in the current legislation, strengthening citizens’ rights to appeal decisions of authoritative entities; cancellation of the property qualification for persons seeking court protection from violation of their rights by state or local self-government bodies or their officials.

AGAINST (-) 3424: a decrease of 340 million UAH in revenues to the Special Fund of the State Budget – resources which would otherwise be allocated for supporting court proceedings and the functioning of the judiciary, in particular outfitting court premises to meet the needs of persons with disabilities and other low-mobility population groups.


17. Draft Resolution No. 4109 (O. Merezhko) (the Committee recommends that the bill be supported) “ON THE VERKHOVNA RADA’S STATEMENT OF NON-RECOGNITION OF THE LEGITIMACY OF THE SO-CALLED LOCAL ELECTIONS IN THE TEMPORARILY OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OF UKRAINE – IN THE AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA AND THE CITY OF SEVASTOPOL – the Draft Resolution declares illegal the so-called local elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine – in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol – which were conducted on September 13, 2020.










22. Draft Law No. 0066 (Cabinet of Ministers) (the Committee recommends that the bill be supported) “ON RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CABINET OF MINISTERS OF UKRAINE AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN ON PERFORMANCE OF PAID TYPES OF LABOR ACTIVITIES BY MEMBERS OF FAMILIES OF EMPLOYEES OF DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIONS AND CONSULATE OFFICES” – ratification of an Agreement that will regulate potential reciprocity-based employment of members of families of employees of foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine and Azerbaijan in line with the legislation of the receiving State. In particular, members of the families of employees of the diplomatic institutions will have the right to perform paid labor in the State of the other Party in accordance with the procedure and on the terms specified for citizens of the host State.


23. Draft Law No. 0067 (President) (the Committee recommends that the bill be supported) “ON UKRAINE’S ACCESSION TO THE CONVENTION ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF LEGISLATIVE METROLOGY” – at present, Ukraine is a corresponding member of the International Organization of Legislative Metrology, with no voting right, and of the International Committee on Legislative Metrology. In the event of accession to the Convention, however, Ukraine, as a full member, will obtain a number of privileges, namely: the right to vote; participation in the meetings of the Committee; voting at all stages of approval of recommendations of IOLM and other publications; participation in the IOLM certification system; creation of a body in charge of issuing IOLM certificates in Ukraine in accordance with the IOLM certification system; ability to influence IOLM policies; submission of proposals for IOLM Strategy.






26. Draft Law No. 3157 (S. Shtepa) (second reading, the Committee recommends that the bill be adopted in the second reading and as a whole) “ON AMENDING THE LAW OF UKRAINE ‘ON THE STATUS OF PEOPLE’S DEPUTY OF UKRAINE’ (REGARDING DEPUTY APPEALS)” – the bill provides for the possibility to send a deputy appeal on paper as well as in electronic format; it proposes that the MP can give consent to receiving only an electronic reply without a reply on paper; the respective agency will be obliged to notify the MP of the time and place of consideration of the MP’s appeal at least 3 days (not 1 day, as required at present) before the day of consideration; the agency will also be obliged to send an e-version to the MP on the day of sending a reply on paper, as well as to provide a motivated reply rather than any kind of reply.

FOR (+) 3157: digitalization, less paper work, lower environmental harm, accelerated communication.

AGAINST (-) 3157: threat of unauthorized interference in electronic paper flow; some likely addressees of deputy appeals have no electronic document management system – as a consequence, employees may be held responsible for failing to perform actions.

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