Debate: Public Investment in Road Infrastructure: Transparency and Accountability

Peja, April 19, 2011 – FOL Movement has organized the next debate with municipalities of Peja and Gjakova, on the topic “Public Investment in Road Infrastructure: Transparency and Accountability”. Participants in this debate were municipal officials, civil society, media and citizens of these municipalities.

Initially Mr. Petrit Zogaj from Movement FOL, expressed regret for not participating in this debate the municipal officials from the municipality of Decan, Klina and Istog, considering this as a lack of willingness to publicly discuss the topic of this debate. According to him, Movement FOL has begun to implement this project based on the high level of investment in road infrastructure and the low level of transparency that has associated the projects in this sector. He added that the purpose of discussions with the municipalities is to address the trend of public investment in road infrastructure from central and local level, the current status, future plans and the level of transparency and accountability of these investments.

The debate continued with the Director of Public Services Department in the Municipality of Gjakova, Mr. Bernard Frrokaj, who stated that the transparency and accountability in the municipality of Gjakova is satisfactory in terms of public investments realized in this municipality. According to him, ‘Information Office in the municipality is available to citizens for any claim that they have, every meeting is open to the media, citizens, civil society and international organizations and, most importantly is that in this municipality, according to the laws, each citizen can have access to contracts for each project that the municipality carries out “. As a negative phenomenon, according to him was “the tendency that municipal investments be planned and directed from the central level, which is the exclusive competence of the mayor.” Regarding investment in road infrastructure by the Government of Kosovo in the municipality, he said that “this municipality is ignored and the 7 projects that the municipality has submitted for funding from the central level has not yet received any response regarding them “.

The director for Public Services and Infrastructure in the Municipality of Peja, Mr. Naim Sahiti said that “our municipality is dissatisfied with the level of central investment in our community, and in 2008 in road infrastructure are invested 5.3 million euro, in 2009 around 2 million euro, no investments in 2010 and in 2011 about 500 thousand euro “. According to him Kosovo government does not allocate the budget based on the criteria and priorities. He proves this by the fact that “this municipality did not get any response regarding 11 projects submitted for funding ti the Government of Kosovo”. He further added that “in 2011, Municipality of Peja f has allocated about 1.7 million euro or investment in road infrastructure and this allocation is made according to certain criteria needs and debates conducted with citizens of this municipality.”

After a presentation by officials, the discussion was opened to the participants and there were questions about some projects which for some years are not realized yet and expressed dissatisfaction regarding the lack of transparency for such projects.
This activity was made possible with support from USAID through the Program for Strengthening Civil Society implemented by ISC – Institute for Sustainable Communities