Last week, the Institute attended the presentation of findings from the analyses conducted in the field of public administration reform in BiH. More precisely, they are preliminary results of the research conducted as part of the project Public Administration Reform Monitoring, implemented by Transparency International BiH (TI BiH) and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN). Over the course of four years, the project implementers will oversee the monitoring of results and evaluate the implementation of the Strategy for Public Administration Reform and inform the public about the progress, as well as educate citizens about the public administration reform processes.
According to Leila Bi?ak?i?, Executive Director of CIN, this organisationâ€™s contribution is reflected in informing the public in different ways about the role and goals of the public reform, given that they have no faith in the process because they are not informed about its purpose, and provide investigative reports on examples of how citizensâ€™ lives were improved by the public administration reform.
Strengthening the system of public accountability and transparency, enhancing policy development in the law-making process, and improving the budgetary process are some of the goals of the project Strengthening Governing Institutions and Proceses in BiH, which is being implemented by the Institute in cooperation with the Centre for International Development of the State University New Yors (SUNY/CID).
Introductory speakers were Leila Ibranovi?, Programme Manager of IT BiH and Semiha Borovac, State Coordinator for Public Administration, and Pelle Persson, Director of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in BiH which also funded the project.
They expressed willingness to address omnipresent corruption which has become endemic in public administration. They stated that this is the first serious attempt at public administration monitoring with the goal of improving the Strategy implementation, through cooperation with the civil sector. Work conducted over the next four years will ensure that the reform is acknowledged, contribute to identifying accountable persons, defining the political framework for the reform, acknowledging the results and accelerating the process.
â€śThe Office of the State Coordinator for Public Administration is willing to adapt its programmes in line with the findings of the civil society, with the goal of improving public administrationâ€ť, said Semiha Borovac. The Office of the Coordinator stated that 20% of the processes laid out in the Strategy have not started being implemented, 28% is at the beginning of the implementation process, 32% is currently being implemented, and only 20% has been finished.
Findings indicate that the public administration reform in BiH has been in focus for over 10 years, and cost over 10 million BAM in donor funds. The Strategy for the Public Administration Reform, adopted in 2006, has had a minor influence on citizens and the quality of the services offered to them by public administration institutions.
The complexity of administrative structures and inadequate management of human resources result in inefficient use of public funds, considering the percentage of funds allotted for salaries of public administration employees. Research conducted by TI BiH showed that 45% of the budget is expended on salaries, which is far more than the 25% recommended by the World Bank. Discounting transfers and subventions increases the percentage to 70%, which goes to show that such expenditures cannot provide for significant capital investments and development projects which could improve the economy in BiH. If we consider that almost half of the GNP is expended on public administration, then the need for reform, i.e. simplification and increase in efficiency of the administrative apparatus.
Unfortunately, in addition to lacking political support, the reform process currently in motion encountered other obstacles such as lack of coordination among governments and different levels of accountability, lack of experienced experts on staff , the administrationâ€™s resistance to change, etc. This is precisely why they emphasized the need for greater involvements of the civil society which would secure the connection between citizens and the public administration, including them in the reform processes so that eventually all processes would be implemented, with results felt by all citizens.