20th November 2019, Skopje – Starting today, we make the financial data on more than twelve and a half million transactions available to the public. Standards are set. Whenever a ministry, an agency or a state office makes a payment, the respective transaction will be available to the public in no time, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced at the press conference at which the web platform “Open Finances” (open.finance.gov.mk) was promoted.
At the event, also attended by the Minister of Finance, Nuna Angelovska, Minister of Communications, Transparency and Accountability, Robert Popovski, and USAID and IRI representatives, Prime Minister Zaev pointed out that that transparency and accountability in the Republic of North Macedonia were honored today, since the Treasury of the Ministry of Finance was made public and the citizens could have insight in the past, present and the future financial transactions of the budget users.
Prime Minister Zaev expressed gratitude to the International Republican Institute (IRI) and USAID, without the financial assistance of which Project implementation could not have been possible.
“Making all Treasury data available to the public is one of the vital measures aimed at fighting the corruption and the irregularities in the operations of the state institutions, as well as saving the citizens’ money. This level of transparency and accountability enables the citizens, the media and the NGOs to freely go through the payments the institutions make and to monitor whether any institution favors any economic operator or transfers money to same natural persons for different services. In future, “Open Finances” platform will act as corrective in terms of institutions’ operations and a strong barricade to corruption, nepotism and other irregularities we come across in the institutions, Prime Minister Zaev pointed out.
The first phase envisages for transactions of the Central Budget institutions (ministries, agencies, offices, etc.), and the social funds to be published on the “Open Finances” platform, while the second phase envisages transactions of local government units and their budget institutions to be published as well.
“Open Finances” platform joins the “Open Data” platform – Tool on Government Accountability which presents the official spending of the officials themselves, and the new service websites of the Government and the Ministries which are under construction at the moment, but will contain information which used to be fully unavailable.
Minister of Finance, Nina Angelovska, pointed out that the “Open Finances” portal is one of the key results from the comprehensive public finances reform, the basis of which is transparency, under which the Government commitment to transparent, efficient and effective public finances management becomes reality and is a step forward on the road to EU.
“We are making the Treasury available to the broad public today. We demonstrate we posses an institutional capacity for big democratic steps. Transparency is the essential democratic tool. It limits power manifestation and encourages more accountable and more just spending of budget funds due to the fear of being caught in an illegal act. It is the reverse effect transparency has on fighting corruption. Access of citizens and the civil society to information on managing budget funs stimulates reasonable and accountable spending”, Minister of Finance Angelovska underlined.
Minister of Communications, Transparency and Accountability, Robert Popovski, informed that, according to “Action SEE” survey on transparency, openness and accountability of the executive branch on the Western Balkans in 2018, Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, together with Montenegro, is the leader in the region according to the openness index, accounting for 78% compared to meeting the indicators.
”We see an upward trend in the past two years, which has been a turning point in our country’s ranking, considering that we were ranked the last in 2016, meeting only 52% of the indicators. What is to be paid special attention to in this survey on transparency, openness and accountability of the executive branch on the Western Balkans is the first place ranking of our country in the sub-category “Budget Publishing”, meeting even 87% of the indicators on transparency, openness and accountability. Countries ranked second and third meet 40% and 24% of the indicators, being a significant difference in favour of North Macedonia”, Popovski said.