"Servants" (Servant of the People) seek to take away the right to permanent land use from churches
Such an initiative was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by 18 parliamentarians, who are all members of the servant of the people party faction. Of these, 14 are members of the committee on agrarian and land policy, including the chairman of this committee, who is a profile when considering this draft law, which indicates the seriousness of the intentions of its initiators, the Institute for Religious Freedom reports.
The main goal of the draft law is to increase local budget revenues from rent payments for state-owned and municipal land plots.
To do this, the authors of the initiative propose in the Land Code of Ukraine to completely abolish the right to permanent land use (Article 92), on the basis of which religious organizations have the opportunity to use land plots free of charge for their spiritual and social activities.
It is important to note that draft law No. 5385 does not contain amendments to Article 82 of the Land Code of Ukraine, which would allow religious organizations to acquire land ownership. Therefore, they are not given the opportunity to buy out the plots of state and municipal property that they use now. Thus, parliamentarians from the servant of the people Party want to force religious organizations to switch from free permanent land use to paid rent on a commercial basis.
At the same time, in order to lease new land plots, religious organizations will need to participate in land auctions, which will significantly increase the price of rent and make it impossible for many religious organizations to use the land.
The IRF notes that the development of a draft law on amendments to the Land Code of Ukraine and other legislative acts of Ukraine on the abolition of the institution of permanent use of land plots is provided for by task 193 of the Government Priority Action Plan for 2021, approved by order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 276 of March 24, 2021. According to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, this will allow "to increase the number of budget revenues from land use."
Recall that the right to permanent land use for religious organizations was restored in 2009 at the initiative of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations. Thanks to this, religious organizations can use state-owned and communal land free of charge only for non-commercial purposes.