Mustafa Nayyem on Ukraine’s efforts to rebuild after the war – interview

·3 min read
Мустафа Найєм, очолив у січні держагентство відновлення та розвитку інфраструктури України
Мустафа Найєм, очолив у січні держагентство відновлення та розвитку інфраструктури України

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Nayyem spoke to NV about how the general public and donors will be able to follow reconstruction projects, how much will they cost, and what facilities will be rebuilt this year despite ongoing hostilities.

NV: How did your department get started?

Nayyem: In the early days of the war, it was necessary to maintain transport connections. Immediately after the de-occupation of our regions, roads and streets of settlements were cleared, and temporary crossings were erected next to destroyed bridges. Since the end of last year, we have been involved in protecting Ukraine’s infrastructure facilities.

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In January 2023, our area of ​​responsibility was formally expanded. One of the first tasks of the Agency is to communicate with local administrations of the most affected regions, collecting ignoration about the damage done by enemy attacks.

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Secondly, we reformed of our regional recovery services, which will organize the entire process.

And thirdly, we are paying close attention to control and audit processes. The most important thing is to ensure the transparency of procurement procedures.

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NV: Will you focus on rebuilding infrastructure and housing, or are there plans to restore the economy, like with small businesses and launching new industries?

Nayyem: According to World Bank estimates, asset losses in Ukraine have reached more than $135 billion. Reconstruction and recovery needs are estimated at about $411 billion as of February 24, 2023, and they continue to grow. The most affected sectors are residential, transport, energy and trade infrastructure, and industry.

During the war, the Agency is focusing on rebuilding across the 11 regions most affected by the war (Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhya oblasts).

NV: Is there a strategy on how different project across these regions will be prioritized?

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Nayyem: The agency is guided by the recovery strategy approved by the government and the action plan defined by the Infrastructure Ministry.

The current priority are “survival-phase” projects in the most sensitive areas for the country: the construction of housing, public infrastructure, civil defense facilities, road and bridge maintenance and expansion, and the development of state border infrastructure.

The responsibility for identifying needs and initiating restoration projects rests with the local authorities. If a project has necessary documentation, we will be able to implement it quickly, but the Cabinet of Ministers will make the final decision.

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The ministry collects, summarizes and evaluates the reconstruction needs of Ukraine’s regions, determines priority projects, and approves the action plan for ARID.

In the future, projects will receive priority according to a methodology currently being developed by the ministry with the support of the World Bank.

NV: What ideas do you have about the kind of architecture for transparent fundraising and public spending?

Nayyem: The key sources of funding should be as follows: the road fund and the state budget, arrested and confiscated Russian funds and assets, funds from international financial institutions (World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank EIB, etc.), funds from foreign governments, and other donor assistance.

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Together with the ministry and international partners, we are creating a digital infrastructure recovery management system (DREAM), which will provide full access to information about each stage of all projects, both to stakeholders and the general public.

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We are also launching certification (anti-bribery management) and compliance control systems across our regional recovery services.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine