The COVID-19 fund with almost UAH 66 billion was created back in April. And the interim reports on the spending are becoming a hot issue.
From the very beginning the allocation of funds was somewhat strange, since over half of the fund went to the “Big Construction” projects. “I feel like the government and the Ministry faced the problem of lacking budget funds for these projects. So, considering the need for this construction and the fact that it had already been announced, they just decided to use the money from the Fund,” suggests Ivan Lakhtionov, Director of TI Ukraine’s Innovation Projects Program.
As of September 11, the majority of funds went to road construction — over UAH 9 billion. The Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Social Policy and Ministry of Internal Affairs, too, have spent more money from the Fund than the actual Ministry of Healthcare.
The Ministry of Healthcare has spent just UAH 499.1 million over this time. This is 3.5% of all the allocated funds. In almost half a year of the pandemic, not a single ventilator was bought using the money from the Fund, nor was it used to pay medical workers. Deputy Minister Svitlana Shatalova said these expenditures are scheduled for October. Ivan Lakhtionov points out that this money needs to be spent, and soon.
We hope that the Ministry will conduct all the necessary purchases in the near future, and the State Audit Service will control the use of money from the Fund overall.