Zurab Alasania, the DG of the Ukrainian public broadcaster UA:PBC, has conceded that despite major restructuring financing remains a challenge.
Speaking in a wide ranging interview with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), he said: “The EBU recommended 0.39% of the annual state budget for financing UA:PBC. However, the government made a very simple calculation, taking all the budgets of all companies and coming up with 0.2 %. This was a simplistic calculation, not a formula that was thought through and it was without a plan or development. They just put together everything and voilà, work with it”.
Alasania added: “We take a pragmatic approach. We know that the government “loves us” and we prepare three options in the financial plan—minimal, middle and maximal—and develop plans for the next year accordingly. When budget talks reach the final stage and we have a sense of the outcome, we are already prepared to adapt. In most cases, cuts cover administrative costs. Even within a minimal budget we always find some money for development, but that’s why the reforms are slow to implement. We have built a solid and strong foundation, but people want to get in the building and have the light, metaphorically speaking. If there is no light, there is frustration. Our home is still not fully ready and alive”.
Commenting specifically about this year, he said: “Formally, we have the full budget. Capital expenditure is about 40% of the budget. However, the government has transferred this part to a new fund created this year, which gets income from the gambling industry. We are not counting on this money and we haven’t received it so far”.