Press release: Public discussion without citizens

This year’s central public discussion on draft budget of the Capital also went by without the presence of the citizens. In the auditorium of KIC “Budo Tomović“ there were some journalists, representatives of parliamentary clubs, institutions and the Capital City’s entreprises, as well as the representatives of the Institute Alternative. This is a clear indicator that the Capital City has not done enough to make the issue of the budget more citizen-friendly and draw the citizens’ interest in its drafting.

Within that context, the so-called “citizens budget“, the goal of which is to represent the annual budget in an understandable and interactive manner to the citizens, would have been an ideal platform that would make the budget more appealing to the citizens and raise the significance of such a discussion. Today’s dispute made it clear that the Secretariat of Finance does not consider such approach a priority. When we asked the question as to why the citizens budget was not developed yet, we have not gotten a specific answer.

Draft Budget and the Justification are still lacking in transparency

During today’s discussion we asked the representatives of the Secretariat of Finance where the savings of around 8 million were made exactly, whether they knew the exact number of employees in the administration, institutions and enterprises at the local level (given that such information was not provided in the Justification), as well as the details regarding the analytical structure of certain budget lines, such as the transfers to individuals.

The answers of the representatives of the Secretariat of Finance were incomplete and unclear, which additionally goes in line with the fact that there is a lot that is omitted from the Draft Budget and Justification.

It is evident that the Secretariat of Finance of the Capital City does not expect and does not desire for a concrete contribution of citizens in the process of budget drafting, thus the public discussion organised in such a manner represent mere box ticking.
Institute Alternative will deliver its comments and recommendation to the Draft Decision on the Budget by the time of expiration of the public discussion, November 30, and we will further advocate for systemic changes of the Law on Financing of the Local Self-Government by which the procedure of holding of the public discussion will be managed in a more precise manner.

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