State-owned enterprises and public institutions beyond the reach of reforms

Citizens’ reports to Institute alternative (IA) suggest that the problem of unregulated employment in state-owned enterprises (SOE) and public institutions is highly prominent, although neglected by the Government.

The Government has limited scope of clear and relatively strict recruitment procedures to the few percentages of public sector. Recruitment and human resource management in numerous SOEs, public institutions (e.g. health and educational institutions) and the so-called agencies is being conducted solely based on loose rules from the Labour Law and multiple special laws.

In December 2016, IA has upgraded its website “My administration” ( within the EU-funded project “Civil Society for Good Governance: To Act and Account!”,. The website enables citizens to report problems and obstacles in exercising their rights before public administration. However, although this website refers only to public administration (state and local authorities and the so-called regulatory bodies), citizens often report problems in SOEs and public institutions as well.

One case reported irregularities in Electric Power Company of Montenegro (EPCG), which, allegedly, engaged hygienist against the rules, allowing the “black market labour” for a pay of 50 euros. Another report argues that the competition for director of the Library of the University of Montenegro has been “personalized” by stipulating conditions that fitted only one person, which went well beyond the requirements envisaged by the internal organisation and systematization act.

These cases clearly indicate the lack of regulation of human resources management in our public sector, and the lack of will to implement the required reforms at all levels.

According to the IA’s assessment, regulations on civil servants and state employees, which prescribe some, although not perfect standards of recruitment and promotion, apply only to a seventh part of Montenegrin public sector – to around 8.000 employees, mainly in state administration and administration of the judiciary, prosecution, Parliament and the President, and other state authorities.

The rest of the public sector, which counts 56.000 employees according to the most recent data, is not properly regulated, particularly in terms of recruitment and promotion. Existing practices, on the other hand, revealed that precisely the areas of public sector recruitment and promotion are particularly prone to corruption, nepotism and undue political interference. Given that the current situation is not aligned with the key good governance standards, IA plans to devote additional attention to the scope of Montenegrin “public service” and to advocate for enhancement of human resource management, not only in state administration, but also in local self-government, agencies, state-owned enterprises and public institutions.

Institute Alternative team

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