An important element of the government and for which the public is concerned is the transparency of the expenditure of the state institutions and the state budget. Taking into account the positive experiences of other countries in relation to transparency of public finances and especially in the context of growing challenges in relation to the integration process of Kosovo into the European Union and sustainable development, the best way to promote accountability is through increasing the transparency of the public finances, quality of the information produced and delivered, accountability and participation by local communities, and also by increasing the positive pressure on elected officials to improve services offered to citizens. Transparency on how the tax payers money is spent on government grants, administrative services and infrastructure investment is weak, or absent for the vast majority of stakeholders in Kosovo. Freedom of information to the citizens, and other groups of interest such as media still remains a big issue to be addressed thoroughly.
There are many NGOs in Kosovo that address transparency and government expenditures, however, many of them are focused in other fields as well, thus, seldom do they produce reports on public finances. Therefore, students are asked to undertake a field trip to the local or central governmental offices to analyze whether there were irregularities during budget dispersion or whether expenses were incurred.
According to the Institute for Advanced Studies “GAP”, during 2013 the Office of General Auditor has found a lot of mismanagement of public funds. More than €115,000,000 were mismanaged in 2013, while in 2014 the public funds mismanaged increased to around €119,000,000. The ministry with most mismanaged cases was the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (€18,982,113), while the Municipality of Skenderaj, Municipality of Rahovec and Municipality of Lipjan had the most irregularities on executing their espective budgets.
You will be engaged in the evaluation of data and research, as well as in the process of interviewing key officials. You have the opportunity of investigating a topic of your choosing (i.e. local public expenditures, central public expenditures, tender/selection, governmental officials’ travel costs, etc.). The topic along with the research will be agreed in collaboration with the lecturer. A constitutive part of this teaching resource is to teach you how to conduct interviews (structured, semi-structured, etc.), especially with key policymaking actors, how to analyze data and how to interpret data in order to determine potential irregularities with the public expenditures. Part of the learning material will also include presentations by guest-speakers and international organizations operating in the field of public finances.