Press release: Stop the non-transparent work of public companies

Institute Alternative (IA) has been unsuccessful for a year now in gaining insight into the business of state enterprises

Last May IA has requested from 35 registered state enterprises in Montenegro, via free access to information, to access their annual reports for 2014, minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors in the same year, the amount of average earnings, as well as the number of employees on the day 12/31/2014.
To this date, IA was able to gain insight to work reports for 2014 by 15 companies, while the rest has not been delivered still due to their absence, confidentiality, or because the reports are unfinished.

State enterprises that did not deliver their reports on annual work and those which do not respect the Law on free access to information are “Budva Riviera“, “Coastal Zone Management of Montenegro“, “Montenegro Airlines“, “Montenegrin Transmission System“, “National parks of Montenegro“, “Airports of Montenegro“, “Fruit and Vegetables of Montenegro“, Port Bar, “Transoceanic navigation“, “Bar navigation“, “Postal office of Montenegro“, “Montenegro bonus Cetinje“, “Project-Consulting Podgorica“, “Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy“, “Broadcasting centre“ Podgorica.

Having in mind the initiative of the Agency for protection of personal data and free access to information in initiating court proceedings against company Hotel Group “Budva Riviera”, which we support, we invite the Agency, but also the Government, to pressure this and other public companies, to start fulfilling their legal obligations arising from the Law on free access to information.

“Budva Riviera” refuses to deliver information to Institute Alternative relating to its business, as it interprets that it is not subject to the Law on Free Access to Information, although the majority ownership of the company lays in the hands of the Government of Montenegro.

In June 2015, after the request was rejected, IA has appealed to the Agency for protection of personal data and free access to information, taking into account the data of the Central Depository Agency, according to which 41.63% of the shares in “Budva Riviera” belong to the Government, while 12, 82% is held by the Pension Fund, and 4.27% Employment Agency. According to this data, the state, therefore, has a 58.72% ownership in “Budva Riviera”, which makes this company the state authority, subjected to the Law on Free Access to Information.

The Agency’s capacity to initiate infringement procedures must be improved, and its actions must be proactive for the sake of greater transparency of government, as well as more rapid sanctions to these violations of the Law. We particularly stress this issue, due to the fact that even after a year the Agency has not delivered its decision to our complaint.

Ivana Bogojević
Public policy researcher

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