Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) lacks budget inspection capacity, as concluded by the participants of the roundtable discussion on the “Work of budget inspections in BiH – a gap between expectations and real possibilities” held today in Banja Luka.
The mandate of the budget inspection is to check on the lawful spending of public money, however, according to the analysis of the Center for Research and Studies – GEA from Banja Luka budget inspections in the FBiH, RS, and Brčko District lack sufficient material, technical and human capacities to yield adequate results.
The discussion was attended by reps from audit offices, institutions from different levels of government in BiH, tax administrations, international organizations and civil society, who all highlighted the importance of budget inspection.
Budget inspector Besima Midžić from the Una-Sana Canton said that their role in the system is being neglected. “The job systematization paper should provide for a larger number of inspectors in the budget inspection sector”, said Midžić, adding that she alone covers six thousand budget users.
“What’s more, the role of the budget inspector has been neglected. It was imposed. The cantons were made to have budget inspectors, and once they demonstrated the results and effects, they have become a burden to cantonal authorities, as no one wants any control”, said Midžić.
A scarce number of budget inspectors is a bottleneck, which affects the capacity of this function to monitor all budget processes and eliminate problems on time, said GEA program director Ognjen Đukić. He authored the publication titled “Budget inspection in BiH: a gap between expectations and real possibilities” which was presented to the participants.
One of the conclusions of the research was that the work of budget inspections in Bosnia and Herzegovina is non-transparent, and to this end, it would be necessary to establish the practice of drafting and publishing regular annual reports on the work of budget inspections thus making their work more visible to the public.
“Basic information about their work and results is not publicly available, and it was difficult to obtain it even through formal and direct requests to the reps of the competent institutions”, said Đukić.
Vladislav Jakovljević, president of GEA, says that in addition to increasing the number of inspectors, more specific work plans and reports on the execution of work plans, specific aspects of the work of the budget inspection must be prescribed in more detail in order to increase the independence, transparency, and professionalism of inspectors.
“Based on budget inspection reports, which are often ignored, the public, and thus civil society organizations, can learn much more about the identified irregularities, and improve their advocacy for change”, said Leila Bičakčić, director of CIN.
This roundtable was another in a series of activities organized by CIN with partner organizations Futura from Mostar and Center for Research and Studies – GEA from Banja Luka as part of the project Strengthening the Capacity of Civil Society Organizations for Public Budget Monitoring.
The project overall is to contribute to the fight against corruption by enhancing fiscal and budget transparency through the active involvement of civil society. It is funded by the European Union, The Balkan Trust for Democracy, and the German Marshall Fund.