Discussion – transparency of public investment in road infrastructure

Ferizaj, January 13, 2011 ? Movement FOL, supported by USAID through the Program for Strengthening Civil Society implemented by ISC – Institute for Sustainable Communities, has organized a debate with citizens in the municipality of Ferizaj, on the topic “Transparency of public investment in road infrastructure”. In this debate were discussed the trend of public investment in road infrastructure in the central and local level in 2008-2010 and those foreseen for the years 2011-2013, the level of transparency in these investments, the current situation and the steps to be taken in future.

Participants in this debate were municipal officials, municipal assembly officials (the chairman of the assembly and heads of all party groups in the Municipality of Ferizaj), the chief of procurement office in this municipality, the traffic police, civil society, media, business representatives of road construction sector and citizens of this municipality.

Initially, the project coordinator Mr. Fidan Kalaja, prezented briefly the report concerning the transparency of public investment in road infrastructure at the central level and atrend of these investments made in the municipality of Ferizaj.

The debate continued with the Head of the Municipal Assembly of Ferizaj, Mr. Agim Aliu, who presented the work of the Municipal Assembly regarding the municipal investments in road infrastructure. He said that in terms of transparency of these investments “municipality since the planning of the budget and its approval organizes public hearings with citizens of this municipality.” According to him, when we are talking about the transparency of investment in roads, then this should be discussed based on the phases of the implementation of the project. In this context, he said that according to him it is an achievement that the annual report of the Municipal Assembly this year will be published earlier than it has been previous years and the project of direct emissions of the meetings of the Municipal Assembly is currently in the final phase of realization. He stressed that in they don?t have any any complaints in the municipalityfrom citizens regarding access to official documents.

Director of Planning and Development, Mr. Ardian Ferizi, presented the trend of investment in road infrastructure in the municipality of Ferizaj for the years 2007-2010 and the average of the investment is about 40% of the capital expenditure of the budget and that provided for the years 2011-2013 ranging from 16% up to 58 % of capital expenditure. He stressed that the projects are being designed through public hearings with citizens of the villages or those of Ferizaj town for each project that is realized in the area where they live. According to him since 2008 until now MTPC has invested in road infrastructure in this municipality about 6 million euros.

Mr. Medain Hashani, head of the LDK group in the Municipality of Ferizaj, stated that the lack of a National Strategy for Development is causing major problems and the fundamental problem in this context is the Public Procurement Law.

Identified problems and other issues discussed in this debate:
1) Low level of investment by MTPC in Ferizaj highways Ferizaj- Kacanik, Ferizaj – Gjilan and Ferizaj – Shtime
2) Road projects funded by MTPC in this municipality are described with a weak planning, quality and a realization of works,  also it has been required that the projects financed by the MTPC be supervised directly by the municipality
3) The problem of supervision of works during the implementation of road infrastructure projects;
4) Poor maintenance of roads, especially during the winter season;
5) Discrimination of serious companies during the announcement of the winners of tenders for construction and road maintenance.