Press release: Municipal spending in 2012 still a mystery

Only ten municipalities have so far adopted the final budget account (year-end report) for 2012. Although we are already well in the second half of 2013, we are still waiting for a complete information on how the municipality collected and spent funds in the previous year.

Therefore, we still do not know how municipalities spent and collected money in 2012, we do not know how the budget plan was executed. It is quite possible that we will not know for a long time: some municipalities (such as Budva, Plav, Kolašin) adopted their final 2011 budget account reports during 2013.

The reasons for this situation are numerous: breaching of deadlines by the local authorities, lack of interest by the local MPs for budgetary issues and the legal framework that does not encourage budget transparency.

According to the Law on Financing of Local Self-Government, local authorities are required to submit the final account of the budget by the end of May.

The legal framework does not prescribe the deadline for adopting the final account of the budget by the local parliament. The legal framework also does not provide for the obligation of local authorities to report on budget execution during the fiscal year, which means that neither local MPs members nor the public have information on budget execution throughout the year.

Also, it is almost completely useless to discuss the finances of the previous year at the end of this year. Such a late consideration of final accounts in most municipalities ridicules the purpose of its adoption by the local parliament, i.e. control of the budget by the local MPs.

The final budget account, as the final image of budget execution, is the most important instrument for the control of local budgets. It is a key budgetary document by which local MPs and citizens can gain insight into the financial flows of the municipality.

For fiscal transparency, timely disclosure of information is crucial. Local governments that have not yet done so (11 of them), must publish their final budget accounts for 2012 as soon as possible and thus finally reveal how the public money was spent in the previous year.

Policy Analyst

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