Towards opening of the discretionary expenditure of public enterprises

We call for the opposition representatives appointed within managing authorities of public property enterprises to firstly ask for and publish all the Board of Directors’ meeting minutes and particularly all records of sponsorships and aid. It is necessary to publish all decisions on the management of the so-called “free assets”, the discretionary decision-making on the income allocation, housing decisions, as well as all other ways of allocation of assets to employees, and to all other physical and legal entities not related to enterprises, besides salaries.

This type of expenditure (sponsorship, donations, aid) is entirely discretionary and an object of decision-making of the enterprise management, therefore it is a key area where (besides employment and procurement) various misuses of public resources for political gain can occur.

Since last year, Institute alternative has been trying to gain access to certain data in possession of public enterprises, coming across great issues due to silent administration and rejection of requests, precisely when it comes to the records from the Board of Directors’ sessions and its decisions.

We remind that the PEFA World Bank Report of 2013 has warned that the enterprises in public property are the least transparent part of the public sector, with a significant lack of information when it comes to public finances transparency. (World Bank, Evaluation of public expenditures and financial responsibility – the report on results of public finance management, July 2013).

The Law on the Implementation of the Agreement on Free and Fair elections (Lex specialis) implies that the opposition representatives in management authorities of enterprises, which are in majority owned by the state, have a right to get a report on any aspect of financial business in the enterprise (Article 15).

By this we do not imply only six national public enterprises where opposition representatives were appointed (Elektroprivreda, Montenegro Airlines, Plantaže, Pošta, Aerodromi, Monteput), but also the rest of 33 national enterprises, as well as numerous public enterprises, that are under the obligation of Lex specialis.

Even though according to Lex specialis mandate is limited to 2016, we consider it is necessary that the opposition representatives make an effort to access the data from previous years, which have to be public as there are no legal obstacles for doing so.

We have defined a set of information that every public sector authority has to publish proactively on their webpages together with the Center for Civic Education (CCE) and Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS). On the list of over 90 transparency requests public enterprises are particularly represented, and the key requests are those of expenditures that public enterprises have in the area of discretionary expenditure and payments for the entities that do not make part of enterprises.

Stevo Muk

President of the Managing Board

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