Proposed amendment won’t help fund military bonuses, Ukrainian MP says

16 April, 11:12 AM
The Verkhovna Rada did not abolish military allowances, Serhii Rakhmanin recalled (Photo:NV)

The Verkhovna Rada did not abolish military allowances, Serhii Rakhmanin recalled (Photo:NV)

If the Verkhovna Rada wants to bring back the UAH 30,000 ($812) bonus to the military, it won’t be with Bill No. 8312, even with the amendment proposed by MP Dmytro Razumkov, said Holos MP Serhiy Rakhmarin in an interview with Radio NV on April 14. 

He explained that Bill No. 8312 is about from whom and on what grounds the military can confiscate property during martial law, not about returning combat pay.

Rakhmarin, a member of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, explained that his faction did not vote for the bill because "it establishes a rather arbitrary procedure for confiscating property" and could lead to large-scale asset grabbing of entire enterprises.

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Rakhmanin explained that Razumkov's amendment proposed to limit the salaries of civil servants, officials, and state employees to 10 times the minimum wage, or UAH 67,000 ($1,813), to free up financial resources to return the UAH 30,000 bonus to the military.

"This amendment was supported by 254 people, including our faction, because we also believe that these additional payments should be returned," he said.

The legislator clarified that it was the Cabinet of Ministers that removed the additional payments from the military, not the Verkhovna Rada.

"It was a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers due to the lack of financial resources," he said.

“UAH 2.7 billion ($73 million) per day from the budget goes to financial expenses related to the Defense Forces. Next. If we save on civil servants, it will amount to 2% — this is important. And that's why the resolution that Volodymyr Tsabal introduced, according to him — and I have no reason not to believe him, I'm just repeating his point of view now — is simply to save three weeks for the government, for the Ministry of Finance, and for our donors. ... That is, there is no money in the budget.”

The Verkhovna Rada on April 10 adopted an amendment to Bill No. 8312, which would have returned the allowance to Ukraine's defenders by saving on salaries for civil servants. Some parliamentarians said then that the decision would most likely require changes to the budget, and that there would not be enough money to cover even 2% of the planned expenditures. An additional UAH 149 billion ($4 billion) would need to be found to implement the decision, said MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak.

Funds for additional payments could be taken from the state budget, which recently increased security and defense spending by UAH 518 billion ($14 billion), as well as by limiting salaries for top officials, Dmytro Razumkov, chairman of the Smart Politics parliamentary group, which initiated the amendment, said in a blog post for news outlet Ukrainska Pravda.

A draft resolution was submitted to the Rada on April 11 to block the signing of the law. The author of the draft, MP Volodymyr Tsabal, said that the adopted amendment to reduce officials' salaries would finance only 2% of the required amount of additional payments to the military, and that if the decision was in fact made, it would require changes to the state budget first. He also stressed that limiting salaries violates Ukraine's obligations to foreign donors.

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