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Energy – Who’s responsible?

September 16, 2015

Following on from the last entry relating to the energy sector and subsidising corruption, comes this statement – “The government doesn’t control the situation in the energy sector… The reason for that might be an objective one, but it’s more of a subjective plan – six orders of the Prime Minister and four of my orders to the Energy Minister remained unanswered properly.” – Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Voschevsky.

Voschevsky

He went on to say “the reason for the situation was the economy being controlled from two centers simultaneously – the president’s and the prime minister’s.”

To be blunt, nobody would be surprised – the harmonious and seamless workings of the office of president and that of prime minister/cabinet of ministers is as rare as rocking horse sh*t in Ukraine.  The inability to remain within the constitutional boundaries offered to certain office has been a recurring historical issue within Ukrainian governance at the very top – and these are exceptional times in Ukraine unlikely to stop the historical trend.

Constitutionally, the president, aside from specific political appointments and dismissals, in broad policy brush strokes is responsible for foreign policy, defence and upholding the constitution.  Everything else, using equally broad brush strokes, is the responsibility of the government.

Ergo energy is the responsibility of the energy ministry, the cabinet of ministers, and ultimately the prime minister according to the allocation of power by the constitution.

Except – is not energy and energy security also a foreign policy and defence policy issue too?

Which nations these days do not consider energy security as a national security issue?

As it is certainly a national security issue for Ukraine, it therefore falls within the presidential remit.  Thus the presidential administration, particularly in the current circumstances Ukraine finds itself, can make a legitimate claim to involvement within the energy sector of Ukraine without any legislative/power overreach any otherwise would-be justification for overstepping constitutional boundaries perhaps would have needed.

Nevertheless, energy policy also remains a governmental responsibility according to the legislation too.

Therefore the two branches of political power both have legitimate and constitutional rights to be meddling with energy policy, and viewing it through slightly different lenses too.  Is it therefore any wonder that control has been lost?  Into that chaos (or perhaps void) assuredly further corruption, inefficiency and oligarchical interests will seep.

If the oligarchy are to be confronted, and at the very least legitimate limits placed upon their drinking from the currently corrupt energy font, then such actions are more easily taken whilst the oligarchy are currently weakened.  They will not remain weak for long unless major reforms are taken soon.

How easily any reforms can be implemented with two different centers of power meddling within the same ministry and tinkering within the same policy domain remains to be seen.  A dreamy two-step or two left feet?

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