Skopje-based Analytica proposes to the Ministry of Interior to make an easily accessible budget and ensure internal audit function.
By Mateja Agatonović (BCSP)
Macedonian Government provides the public with minimal budget information and opportunities to engage in the budgeting. This is why Macedonia scored only 35 out of 100 in the Open Budget Survey 2015. Transparency and citizens participation shortcomings are also reflected in the police budget. The budget for the Ministry of Interior is not available on their website, as one would expect, concluded Analytica from Skopje in their latest report on police integrity.
The budget of the Ministry of Interior and the police is publically available as part of the Ministry of Finance’s report on the overall Macedonian budget. This makes the police budget difficult to find, denying any indicators for measuring the results of the conducted activities. A bigger problem than that is the fact that bi-annual reports of the Ministry of Finance don’t include details on the revenues, expenditures, and borrowing of the police.
Opaque budgeting is also reflected in the public procurement which is implemented through the Bureau of Public Procurements within the Ministry of Finance. Critics claim that the public procurement process is non-transparent and laden with corruption. The lowest price is the most common criterion for winning a contract. This is the largest challenge that companies face concerning public procurements in general in Macedonia, not only when conducting business with the Ministry of Interior. Companies are also paid late for the work they have performed under a contract, which damages their liquidity.
The internal audit unit within the Ministry of Interior responsible to provide independent scrutiny of the financial governance does not have the required human and material resources or authorization to properly conduct an audit. The Unit consistently loses employees due to lack of incentives necessary to retain well-qualified staff. Also, the positioning of the unit at the lowest level within the overall organizational structure in the Ministry does not provide it with substantial authority and independence from other units to conduct audits independently. This also means that it experiences lack of cooperation from bodies that are to be audited – as they do not see the benefit of this process.
Analytica recommendations are aimed at amending these shortcomings: through making the budget of the Ministry of Interior easily accessible, and more importantly through strengthening the capacity of the internal auditing body, ensuring their functionality.