KIEV, Nov. 30 – Lawmakers will probably Thursday again debate a bill that calls on the National Bank of Ukraine to disburse one billion hryvnias to the government to fight flu, Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said Monday.
An alternative bill, submitted by the opposition Regions Party that calls for the disbursal of 200 million hryvnias in December, may also be debated, Lytvyn said.
“On Thursday we will schedule it as the issue No. 1,” Lytvyn said.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose government has been facing ashortage of funds, has been pushing hard for the bill, which forces the NBU to print the money to pay for the anti-flu efforts.
President Viktor Yushchenko, Tymoshenko’s political rival, vetoed the bill earlier this month amid fears that it may trigger high inflation. He also suggested that the government must cut other spending or borrow money from commercial banks instead of demanding the cash from the NBU.
Tymoshenko and her loyalists in Parliament have tried to override the veto on November 26, but have failed to secure support from the Regions Party.
Tymoshenko argued the money was needed to prepare for the second wave of flu after many Ukrainian regions have gone through a flu epidemic earlier this month.
To override the veto, Parliament has to secure support from at least 300 lawmakers in the 450-seat Parliament, which means the Tymoshenko Bloc and the Regions Party have to support the bill.
Tymoshenko claimed the government had already spent 500 million hryvnias to fight the epidemic since over the past three weeks and said more money – at least one billion hryvnias – was required to continue the effort.
But opposition lawmakers raised questions over alleged corruption in the way the anti-flu effort had been handled.
Data, released by the Regions Party and confirmed by the presidential office, suggest that only 60 million hryvnias has been actually spent on flu efforts, while the rest of 440 million hryvnias is unaccounted for.
“We are ready to back the bill, but we demand that the spending of the money must be controlled by the Prosecutor General’s Office and by the Accounting Chamber,” Petro Symonenko, the leader of the Communist Party, said. “And, unconditionally, the spending must be targeted and made public.”
The Regions Party submitted the bill that calls for the disbursal of 200 million hryvnias in December. (tl/ez)