The Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Oksana Zholnovych, speaking at the International Sustainability Forum 2023 announced proposals to reform Ukraine’s social contract and social policies to aid the country’s further development.
In her view too many Ukrainians behave like teenagers who are not ready to take responsibility for their lives and wait for the state to decide and do everything for them.
“This is a philosophy that we definitely have to break,” Zholnovych believes.
The Ministry has already come up with a campaign slogan: “We are building capacity instead of dependence.
“This slogan sounds ugly to those people who are currently receiving social benefits. Many of them do not want to be capable. Indeed, many people are satisfied with the state they are in,” the minister said.
In her opinion, in order to achieve success in the next 10 years, the state should not increase the number of existing social benefits. Specialists are already wrestling with the issues surrounding the reintegration of veterans into society after the war with Russia such as how to determine their status, what levels of benefits should be paid, and how the state will allocate them.
Zolnovych says that it seems illogical for a veteran to earn a salary and pay tax which is later transferred back to him or her in some form of benefit. She feels that social policy should be a service that offers practical support where it is needed rather than just making payments.
Therefore, the Ministry proposes to develop these support services. Zolnovych gave examples: immigrants should be helped to adapt to their new life, find work, and integrate into society, if an individual has lost a limb, then they would receive help with finding and fitting a prosthesis, training how to use that prosthesis, and how to find appropriate work.
The shortage of specialists able to help with the provision of these services is seen as a problem.
Zolnovych’s ministry is examining how social benefit payments can be reallocated to fund organizations and facilities that can not only provide the help needed but are prepared to do so.
Zholnovych believes that Ukraine must become a more inclusive society. There are already vulnerable and disabled citizens who need help and a number of those returning from the war will need support. She feels that the levels of support services she envisages will only be achievable with the support of business.
“Therefore, I urge businesses to look at their social component. To become social enterprises, to create inclusive workplaces for different groups of people.”
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