Head of Derzhkomzem speaks to the media
MyLand - 27/08/2010:
Please avail yourself of English translation of exclusive interview of OLEG KULINICH, Head of the State Committee of Ukraine on Land Resources. This interview was given to Interfax-Ukraine. English tanslation has been made by MyLand - please do not forget to support us.
Mr Oleg Kulinich, Head of the State Committee of Ukraine on Land Resources, answers questions of Interfax-Ukraina. Russian version was published at the web-site of the Committee on August 13, 2010.
Translation by MyLand, 2010
Interfax-Ukraina: Recently there has been a meeting in Crimea focused on issues of development of Autonomous Republic. At this meeting President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich allotted special attention to land problems. What tasks have been assigned to the Committee regarding those problems?
Oleg Kulinich: In recent years in Crimea the practice of abuse of power by local self-governance took menacing scale; this is also true in respect of legalization of illegal alienation of state-owned land through court judgments and large-scale land capture.
In order to put thing in order, the Committee is entrusted with the following tasks: to strengthen control over decision-making of local self-governance; to suggest changes into legislation in order to reinforce the position of the Soviet of Ministers of Crimea which is nowadays having less rights and competence than any village council.
Committee also has to secure a transparent procedure for sale of land plots on a competitive basis, including organization of electronic auctions.
We have to point that Committee is going to start in Crimea a pilot project regarding e-sales of land. In pursuance of this objective, Crimean Committee on Land Resources [ML: local department of Derzhkomzem] defined 38 land plots with the total area of over 700 ha. Most of plots are of recreational use. It is of utmost importance for us to make this pilot project a success; then the experience of e-auctions will be available for the whole country.
IU: How is land titling going in Ukraine?
OK: As of beginning of June of 2010, 12.5 million Ukrainians have already realized their right to acquire in private ownership 17.3 million land plots (4.1 million ha). Those plots are meant for individual housing, garage construction, personal subsistence farming, dacha construction and gardening. That makes up 86% of the total number of citizens having right to privatize land.
These 12.5 million citizens got 7.2 million land titles (57.7% of the number of citizens who have already privatized land). This number includes those citizens who got land titles free of charge on the basis of the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine # 844 of 2009 (1.05 million titles).
[ML: we would rather look at the number of titled plots. Mr Kulinich actually said that out of 17.3 million plots only 7.2 million is titled, i.e. 41.6%. That means that almost 60% of land pots is a “dead capital”]
IU: How many plots and leasehold rights have been sold in Ukraine in the first and second quarter?
OK: As of today land market is somewhat blocked, because local councils cannot allocate land in leasehold on a competitive basis within current legal framework. Former President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko vetoed respective decision of the Government on land auctions. That cost local budgets UAH 4-5 billion in 2008-2009.
[ML: veto was based on the norm of the Constitution of Ukraine which says that regime of property shall be governed by the law only. Constitutional Court of Ukraine on several occasions construed this rule as to mean that the regime of property includes procedures for acquisition of ownership rights to land. Therefore President of Ukraine vetoed the decision of the Government as breaching the Constitution]
We expect that land market shall stir up in the nearest future because in pursuance of the order of the President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich there was drafted a procedure for holding land auctions. The procedure will allow sale and lease of land plots for the benefit of all level of budgets.
[ML: nevertheless, the Constitution stands as it used to, and any order cannot change its rule as it was construed by the Court. Thus a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on land auction cannot be taken as legitimate. This is our opinion.]
As regards the actual figures: during 6 months of 2010 there have been sold 2.224 thousand land plots and leasehold rights with the total area of 5239.55 ha and aggregate value of UAH 601.7 million.
To compare: during the same period of 2009 there have been sold 2.606 thousand plots and leasehold rights with the total area of 3371.32 ha and aggregate value of UAH 724.14 million.
Through land auctions in 2010 there were sold 69 parcels with the total area of 30.34 ha (total value was UAH 18.3 million) and 251 leasehold rights in respect of 4433.9 ha (total value was UAH 11.1 million).
To compare: in he first two quarters of 2009 there were sold 80 land parcels with the area of 21.21 and value of UAH 17.9 million and 108 leasehold rights (2146.6 ha, UAH 13.1 million).
IU: Oleg Nikolaevich, how is it going with establishment in Ukraine of a unified system of land cadastre?
OK: Establishment of a unified land cadastre started as long ago as in 1997 when a state enterprise “Center of State Land Cadastre” was set up. It had to form qualitative representation of land resources as well as their recording. Information about a land plot has multi-component nature: it includes graphic part, textual data on properties of land, its value, data on legal documents related to it…
From February 2006 till April 2009 World Bank Project “Rural Land Titling and Development of System of Cadastre” was in fact in stagnation, so to speak. Funding was blocked, and major part of the Project was not at all implemented..
But in April 2009 realization of the Project was renewed, and the whole Project survived. We made amendments into Loan Agreement in order to secure 100-% funding of all measures and tasks, including taxes and custom duties.
Besides, we managed to engaged into development of IT system of cadastre leading world companies having extensive experience in the field. These are International Land Systems Inc. (USA), GAF AG (Germany), SWEDESURVEY AB (Sweden).
In fact, a task of forming and actualization of cadastre is having permanent continuous nature. We have already had some practical results; in particular, the work on creation of database for proving ownership is at the final stage. The database will also allow get information about owners in a centralized way.
Besides, over the last one year and a half there was going unification of the procedure for carrying out the land registry; it is meant to introduce clear order of steps for issuance of a land title.
There is also a work going on allocation of cadastral number to land plots, with special attention paid to those land plots which were titled earlier, without assignment of a cadastral number. Taking into account that there are about 6 million titles without cadastral numbers, and in the process of formation of cadastral numbers it is necessary to perform real land surveying and geodetic works, we approached the World Bank with a suggestion about inclusion of these works into the Project.
Besides, executive bodies have strengthen control over circulation of land titles in order to prevent illegal alienation of land plots, taking land market out of “shadow” and reducing corruption opportunities in the process of titling.
IU: Please name main reasons obstructing the establishment of the system of land cadastre.
OK: It is first of all deficiency of a legal base which is still lacking a law on state land cadastre. President of Ukraine thinks that adoption of the said law is a matter of priority. Besides, there is also counteraction of certain interest groups preferring to keep land market in “shadow”.
According to Doing Business 2010, Ukraine is the worst in Europe and Middle Asia in terms of registration of property rights.
This is a very worrying sign, because without transparent and affordable registration of rights, without state guarantees of protection all investments and financial resources will not be able to work efficiently in the real sector of our economy, in agriculture, in banking sector.
IU: What are the principal steps to complete cadastral system?
OK: It is necessary to remove all existing controversies which were entailed by confrontation of branches of executive power and led to inter-departmental conflicts.
It is a paradox situation. Talks about necessity of the law on land cadaste are going for 10 years. But when the law was finally passed by the Parliament, it was vetoed by the former President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko despite all political statements regarding desirability of putting land market in order. This is a proof of double standards.
At the same time, President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich in his address to the people of Ukraine said that in the system of land relations it was necessary to adopt two basic laws – on land cadastre and on land market. Taking into account that there is full-fledged political majority in the Parliament and unity of all branches of power, we believe that we will be able in the nearest future to complete tasks ranged by the President as matters of priority.
IU: When will works on establishment of cadastre be finished?
OK: Realization of development of automated cadastral system within the framework of World Bank Project is planned for 2010-2012 and staged into 5 parts. I am sure that the Project will be finalized by mid 2012.
Although, as I have already mentioned, work on formation of cadastre is having continuous nature. The process of formation and actualization of cadastre is taking place in all European countries.
At the same time, this work takes serious efforts regarding technical protection and legal regulation of access to databases.
IU: In October 2003 Ukraine signed a Loan Agreement with the World Bank providing for a loan of USD 195.13 for land titiling and development of cadastre. The Agreement was ratified by the Parliament in June 2004. But in 2008 Ukraine restructured the Agreement and took out of it funding of creation of a registration system. The total funds of the Project decreased from USD 195.13 million to USD 101 million. How much money has already been used?
OK: As I said, during 2006-2009 Project was blocked because of some legislative vacuum regarding state registration of rights on land plots. As a result, World Bank cut funding regarding some components aiming at development of cadastre.
During the period of operation of the Project there were signed contracts for the total sum of USD 50.3 million. Funds ensured by the Loan Agreement are sufficient and there is no need for additional allocations.
IU: What regions of Ukraine are the best prepared for the launch of cadastre?
OK: In 2012 we have to install IT systems in all regions of Ukraine. As of today, the best prepared for this work regions are Odessa, Vinnitsa and Khmelnitsky Oblasts.
As regards personnel training – within the framework of the project over 400 teachers out of 12 leading educational establishments and 700 employees of the Committee improved their skills and knowledge. Universities and institutes got over 700 units of geodetic and computer equipment.
At the same time selection and training of personnel is one of the most acute issues. We need a system which would ensure training of not only land surveyors and cadastral engineers, but also experts in the field of geodesy, economy, law, agronomy and engineering.
IU: What area of Ukraine has already been aerially photographed?
OK: as of end of June aerial photography was completed on the area of 453 thousand square kilometers, or 75% of Ukraine. These data will be used for making base and index maps. Orthophoto maps in scale 1:10000 were made for 327 thousand square km, in scale 1:5000 – for 30 thousand sq. km, in scale 1:2000 – for 4.8 thousand sq. km. Index cadastral maps were produced for the area of 66.6 thousand sq. km. [ML: the area of Ukraine is 600.3 thousand sq. km]
It is planned that all aerial picturing and mapping will be completed in 2012. But we have to move faster because aerial photography data are getting outdated quite soon and shall be made anew, actualized.
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