Alexander Bochkarev
31 August 2021 10: 56
Headings: News Economy

"Golden Kilometer" How Ukrainian roads "eat up" billions

Huge sums are being spent on asphalt paving

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Golden kilometer. How Ukrainian roads eat up billions

The absence of potholes and the creation of thousands of jobs are in harmony with corruption scandals, manipulation and cartel "traditions". These are the realities of road mega-repair in Ukraine, which is taking place within the framework of the state program "big building". Features of the "travel issue" - studied by journalists Klymenko Time.

There have always been big complaints about the quality of roads in modern Ukraine. Today you can see how the laid asphalt after a couple of years is covered with a web of cracks, as a result of which potholes form on it. In some cases, the repaired road slides immediately after a heavy downpour, as happened with the Odessa highway M-05 near the village. Trinity in July According to experts, the road theme, like decades ago, has not got rid of its childhood illnesses: lack of strategic planning, financial deficit and corruption, in which a great many people are interested, from contractors to security forces and local officials. Let's consider the situation in more detail.

Manipulation and corruption

"Game" with data. Last year in Ukraine in the upper layers of the road surface, more than 4 thousand km of roads of national importance were built and repaired. About the same is planned for this year. The numbers are impressive, although they make up a small percentage of the national mileage, given that out of 167 kilometers of roads, 90% are in need of repair, not to mention bridges, of which 99% require urgent repair or even reconstruction.

However, even the "victorious" statistics are far-fetched, given the possibility of manipulating numbers and terms. For example, in the general indicator of planned repair work, road workers account for emergency repairs. This affects the amount spent. since repairing the hole conditionally costs 200 UAH, and carrying out a planned current repair of the same section costs several thousand, or even tens of thousands of hryvnias.

Also in the column of repairing roads of "national importance" to increase statistics added repair of local roads, the cost of which is much lower.

A bottomless barrel. The fact that a lot of money is laundered on the roads today is clear even to a schoolboy. The situation is approximately the following. According to the ex-people's deputy Vitaliy Zhuravsky, behind each oblast has a "watching" deputy who, together with the governor, determines which firms should win tenders and how much compensation will go into the pocket of the people's choice and the chairman of the oblast administration. Of course, this scheme provides for “tips” to the head of Ukravtodor, he said in a commentary to the publication. "Gordon".

There are many schemes for the development of funds. This is the purchase of cheap and low-quality bitumen, curbs, storm drains at inflated prices. Also, the installation of expensive fenders, as it was on one of the boulevards of Kyiv, where the company installed the Vario Guard fender at 15 thousand UAH per linear meter, despite the fact that the purchase price in Europe was UAH 8 thousand per meter. Here we will add manipulations with fuel for vehicles. For example, according to the norms, the skating rink should conditionally roll the ground 10 times, but it does only 3 times. Similarly with the number of trucks / walkers.

According to the lawyer Rostislav Kravets, in general, on road repair significantly raise estimates.

- If you make the width of the road 10 - 30 cm narrower, can you imagine what volume it turns out to be per 100 km? And nobody checks it. And who controls the thickness of the asphalt pavement? Yes, there are state commissions that accept roads, but I think if this state commission is checked, then there will be a discrepancy with the standards by one and a half, or even two times, - he told Klymenko Time.

road cartel

In addition to corruption, there is an oligopolization of the Ukrainian road market. This means that the number of participating companies is declining, as our publication was told director of the consulting company William Invest Expert Viktor Medved.

- Accordingly, the lower the competition, the higher the prices. As a result, we can count on one hand all construction operators who can easily work not for 2-3% profitability, but for 30-40%, - He said.

Let's make a comparison. AT November 2019, XNUMX the total amount of payments for medium and major road repairs amounted to UAH 28 billion 880,3 million, which was divided among 570 contractors. Of these, the top 40 contractors received almost 82% of all funds paid by Ukravtodor. Given that the five largest contractors - 42% of all money. Most of all, almost 20% of the money, in 2019 was received by Avtomagistral-South LLC, reports "Word and deed".

In 2020 was the total amount of payments has become much higher - UAH 85 billion. This time, the top 40 companies received 90% of the money, and the top five received 51%. The leader again became Avtomagistral-South LLC, which received 20,3% or UAH 17 billion 282,9 million.

As of 16 of August November 2021, XNUMX the cost of tenders is UAH 115 billion 491,9 million, which should be distributed among 42 contractors. The largest part should go to Avtomagistral-South LLC - 23,7%.

It should be noted that the top largest players, or as it is also called, the "road cartel", includes such companies. Among them: the Turkish company Onur Taahhut Tasimacilik Insaat Tic. ve San. AS" and the related Ukrainian LLC "Onur Construction International"; the company "Rostdorstroy", which owns a significant part of the LLC "RDS-Poltava"; "SHRBU-48"; "Energy and road construction" and "SUAP "Intervias Ukraine".

Lack of strategy

High cost, modest quality, as well as corruption - looming bleak prospects for major road repairs. Does not add optimism and the creation of tens of thousands additional jobs which the government is so proud of. Rostislav Kravets believes that the employment figures are greatly exaggerated, especially since all companies, and among them there are many foreigners, hire their workers, since the government has practically removed the requirement for the number of Ukrainians to be involved in road construction.

Viktor Medved is sure that there is no strategic approach to solving the problem. Roads, according to him, are being repaired according to the residual principle, depending on whether there is money or not. But this is wrong, since the problem needs to be solved comprehensively and at the state level, and not on a case-by-case basis.

- Several questions need to be answered. For example, how many years will we build roads? How much money is planned to solve this problem for, say, 20 years? There are no answers. As a result, it turns out that we are building here, but we are not building here. We often see roads in good condition being rebuilt several times, while roads in bad condition go unrepaired for many years. We have several thousand bridges that are in emergency or pre-emergency condition. So are we going to build one big bridge or many small ones? The question is open, - analyst noted.

One of the most important criteria, according to Medved, is public investment. They must be as effective as possible so that the funds spent are then returned to the budget, and can be reinvested by the state. And in this matter, the aspect is very important. import substitution and vertical integration. Accordingly, building materials and equipment should be used locally as much as possible. And for this it is necessary to build factories, establish production, attract investors.

- Since there is nothing of this now, we are following the path of "fever" and signing contracts with foreign companies. Accordingly, the added value settles abroad. As a result, there is a very low efficiency of the return of funds to the state budget, which means that there is no possibility of increasing the amount of budget financing due to the inefficiency of state policy in this regard. This is the lack of a strategic approach. The authorities are doing everything from today to today, - he specified.

As a result, there are no prospects for solving the "road problem". That is why, according to the expert, The main goal of the "Great Construction" is PR

- And we spend crazy money on this from the state budget, but we receive, according to my estimates, 40-50% less than we could receive. And this is without taking into account the corruption component, - summed up Viktor Medved.

Outcome. The economy cannot develop without high-quality infrastructure, and therefore the construction of roads, the restoration of railway stations, airports, railway communications is an indisputably necessary goal. At the very least, Ukraine has moved in the direction of "big construction". Even to the detriment of their own citizens, as evidenced by the cuts in social spending and the systematic withdrawal of funds from the COVID fund. The question is, will the authorities be able to continue to follow the chosen line? After all, huge funds are needed to build roads, but given how the state is selling itself to big capital, as well as taking into account internal political strife, the megaproject may slow down in the near future.  

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