Discussion of the draft Law “On Local Government” in new edition

Jun 7, 2016

The draft law “On local government” in new edition was discussed at the round table organized by the joint project of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Development Programme “Local Governance Support Program /Phase#2”.

Representatives of the Senate and the Legislative chamber of Oliy Majlis, the Cabinet of Ministers, ministries and agencies, khokimiats of Tashkent city and pilot regions: Tashkent, Djizak and Namangan, experts of various institutes and scientific centers took part at the round table.

It was noted that the current Law “On Local State Government”, adopted on September 1993, has played a positive role in solving urgent problems in the activities of local government bodies. Since the adoption of the law there have been radical changes and transformations, both in the legislative framework as well as in organizational and practical aspects of governance at state and local levels, the system and the structure of these bodies have been upgraded, modern management techniques have been introduced. Changes to the Constitution, a number of laws and other normative legal acts, significantly enhancing the power of local governments and administrations, increasing their accountability and transparency, have been adopted. In practice, more and more responsibility for regional development lies on the local governments. The above circumstances demand to bring the law on local government with Constitution changes and changes in other normative legal acts.

So, there is a need for further improvement of the legislation in this area in order to increase the autonomy of local government bodies and their responsibility for the development of the region, namely by developing and adopting the Law “On local government” in new edition.

It should be pointed out, areas of responsibility and authority between the republican and local bodies of representative power are not clearly determined in the current Law. The powers of local Kengashes of people’s deputies and khokims are not detailed.

Estimated that the absence of its own staff, financing sources, the dependence in their activity from the local government bodies and the office of khokimiyats leads to inefficient implementation by Kengashes their powers on control over the activities of executive bodies, real participation in the development and implementation of regional programs and improvement of the socio-economic situation in the region.

In this regard, the draft law provides a simultaneous solution of issues as strengthening the status of local governments, creation of a permanent unit (secretary) of local Kengashes of people’s deputies to coordinate and assist the people’s deputies in their work between sessions.

Particular attention in the framework of the round table was paid to the Resolutions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan #2495 and #2497, aimed at empowerment, increasing the role and responsibility of local government bodies in solving actual tasks of the regions. In accordance with these acts a new department – main department for development of the regions was created at the structure of the khokimiyat. Thereby a special article defining the concept of “economic basis of local governments” included into the draft law. At the same time, one of the key elements of this concept is proposed to define a Regional Development Strategy and its relationship with the medium-term budgeting.

Participants of the event fully support the adoption of the draft law “On local government” in new edition. Since khokimiyats of regions are busy only with execution of numerous orders of ministries and higher authorities. This raises the need to adopt specific measures on strengthening, above all, the budget and investment powers of local governments that will have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of regions.

In this regard the adoption of the law in new edition will significantly increase the role of local government bodies, supply them an opportunity within the decentralized powers independently, without referring to the republican authorities, and timely solve regional issues, determine priorities and allocate resources based on local conditions and needs.

During the discussions constructive proposals aimed at improving the certain articles of the draft law were expressed.

Thus, it was noted that new edition of the law should strengthen not only the powers of khokimiyats, but also specify their authorities, give more independence in all areas, define a mechanism of accountability of khokims to local Kengashes.

It is also proposed to include in the draft law budgetary control principles, the implementation of which will allow to create, approve and execute the budget properly and to use funds as efficiently as possible.

Besides it was proposed to add a certain article on the responsibility of local government bodies for the execution of normative legal acts concerning reduction of energy consumption, introduction of energy-efficient technologies into the branches of economy and social sphere.

At the end of the round table it was decided to update and complete the draft law “On local government” in new edition using advices and suggestions provided by participants and present it to the Interagency Coordination Working Group of the project for further consideration.

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