Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" launched the Transparency Index of the local government of the second level in Moldova. The event took place on November 29 at a press conference.
"Together with partners from Slovakia we are continuing the series of efforts to create more transparency and accountability in local governments and I think we will work towards more transparent central administration activity. Transparency Index is a clear indication that the effectiveness of the local government matters for citizens and for the quality of democracy in Moldova", stated IDIS Director, Igor Munteanu.
In turn, H.E. Ambassador of Slovakia to Moldova, Robert Kirnag stresses "Openness of local government will help resolve the many challenges faced by authorities today. Thus, the transparency will make public authorities to become stronger and more competitive, and in exchange will receive the support of citizens and the civil society".
Rayons Transparency Index, signed by the expert Viorel Pirvan, is a tool for monitoring the compliance of transparency and to measure the accountability at the local government of the second level by citizens. Rayon Councils were evaluated and ranked in the following nine criteria of transparency: access to information, participation in decision-making, budgeting, public procurement, management of public property, professional ethics and conflict of interests, human resources, social services, investments, municipal companies and participation in companies. The maximum of the accrued points was 100 and the most transparent rayons in this respect are Soroca (55 points), Falesti (54 points) and Straseni (52 points).
"Good decisions prepared and adopted in a transparent and participatory manner have the support of society and more chances to serve the public interest. Furthermore, by enhancing transparency, the public finances will be used more efficiently and will visibly reduce corruption at the local government level", said Viorel Pirvan.
According to the Index, Rayon Councils from Straseni, Singerei and Soroca are the most transparent in terms of access to information. Authorities are less open when it comes to involving citizens in the decision-making process, so that public authorities do not usually organize public consultations on the draft decisions. Also, only the Rayon Councils from Falesti, Edinet, Straseni and Stefan Voda placed on the web their Transparency Report for 2015.
Regarding public procurement only Rayon Councils from Ialoveni, Soroca and Ungheni published on the web the public procurement results for the previous year. But archiving the procurement documents is not a priority for most councils. However, analysis of the level of transparency in the use of money and public property chapter reveals that the rayon authorities don't publish the results of auctions / competitions for the sale of goods and only half of rayon councils have published on the web the rayon budget for the year 2016. However, the best examples of transparency in these chapters are Rayon Councils from Soroca, Straseni, Riscani, Falesti and Leova.
Among the activities of rayon authorities are managing social assistance services. In this respect, only Falesti Rayon Council published on its official page detailed information about social services in the territory. The author of analysis also noted the low interest of the rayon government to respect professional ethics and prevention of conflict of interest. Thus, although the 18 Rayon councils have published on the web page the CV President, most authorities have not made public statements on income and property. Statements about the income and property of the rayon president and vice president were integrally published by Calarasi and Ungheni Rayon Councils.
Another chapter analyzed is "investments, municipal companies and participation in companies". Thus, only seven Rayon councils published on the website the necessary information on projects managed by the rayon administration. Also, the list of municipal enterprises is known only by the public from Ocnita and Singerei rayons. Rayon councils from Singerei and Hincesti are ranked first in terms of transparency of investment and municipal enterprises.
During the event, Viorel Pirvan presented a series of recommendations for local officials to ensure transparency and integrity in the local government. Among them we can mention the need to publish annual reports on transparency in the decision-making process, announcing the results of public procurement, the public consultation of budgets, developing codes of ethics and professionalism in the provision of municipal administration.
The transparency of rayons and of largest municipalities in Moldova is presented on local government transparency portal: http://localtransparency.viitorul.org/. The website allows citizens to evaluate the work of local authorities, to compare several towns or rayons and even create their own ranking. The methodology took inspiration from a similar project run by the Transparency International Slovakia.
The event was held within the project "Transparent, financially sound and competitive municipalities in Moldova" which is implemented by the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) in partnership with IDIS "Viitorul", with the support of the SlovakAid and the US Embassy to Moldova. The project aims to increase the financial accountability of local governments in 50 municipalities throughout Moldova.