AIS proposals for the draft Albania’s OGP Action Plan 2016 – 2018

The Albanian Institute of Science (AIS), an organization that promoted open and transparent data, which is also engaged as a member of the Coalition for Open Governance Partnership (OGP) for Albania, has, for the third time, become part of the consultations with the Government of Albania in drafting an OGP Action Plan. Aiming at contributing to the efforts for open governance as good governance, AIS proposes some commitments that the Government and its Partners should undertake in being part of the Action Plan for OGP fir the two coming years, 2016 – 2018:

Suggestion no. 1: Commitment to Open Contracting Standards. Publication of public contracts using the Open Data format.

Government Implementation Agency(ies): Council of Ministers, Ministry for Relationships with the Parliament, and the Ministry for Economic Development

Non-Government Partner: AIS, etc.

Potential Supporters: World Bank

The Albanian Government needs to commit to applying Open Contracting standards. This is the trend followed by states and transparency actors in their efforts for open information about public contracts and the procedure followed until their finalization. Therefore the Government of Albania may consider abiding by principles of transparency and public access in drafting the new law on Public Procurement. Such law shall have to consider introducing an obligation for publishing every extract of contracts for public works, supplies of goods and services, PPPs or concessions, public rent, sales of public assets, and loan contracts, or public loans contract at the local and central level. The same obligation must also be applicable to the publication of the donation contracts with public institutions, and to online access.

It must also be considered to use the Open Data format in creating the Concessionary Register on the basis of the Law on Concessions and PPPs, and the Decision of the Council of Ministers, ensuring protection of the commercial secret and intellectual property.

Suggestion no. 2: Local Government Unit Budgets by their revenue structures 

Ministry for Local Affairs; Ministry of Finances

Potential supporters and partners: UNDP; Swiss Government; USAI; etc.

The Law on Local Government Finances must consider introducing an obligation for local government units to publish the structure of their revenues abiding to the Open Spending standards. This can be achieved in cooperation with the non-governmental sector and with the financial support of programs for local government planning or assistance instruments for anti-corruption (including IPA instruments). A model of the Open Budget of Local Government shall be published in May in the framework of the USAID Program, PLGP.

Suggestion no. 3 Publication of the annual declaration of assets for high officials

National Coordinator against Corruption, Ministry for Local Affairs, Ministry of Justice

Partners from the Non-Governmental Sector: AIS; Association of Journalists for Justice; BIRN Albania, etc.

Support Partners: EU instrument IPA Anti-Corruption; USAID, etc.

Control of Assets and Conflict of Interests is an interesting moment, which is also related with the implementation of the law on decriminalization, and the justice system reform. The public in Albania has the right of access to information on declared incomes and assets. Such access, however, is limited to the will and performance of the monitoring parties and the institution that owns the database (High Inspectorate). Currently, different countries apply the option of (additional) access to, and control of such information. In simple words, the declarations of elected officials and high officials are published online. This would have to start first with the judges and representatives of the justice system, who are twice subject to the control of the conflict of interest. 1. As any other high official (Law on HIDACCI) and 2.  Subject to the provisions of the Code of Procedures (review of court cases). Thus, a judge may not adjudicate a party in the court process, if the same party is the employer of a family member of the judge, or the buying/selling party in a contract involving the judge or someone rom his/her family. Having access to the declarations of interest, the other party in the process has more information if its interests are manipulated due to the judge’s conflict of interest.

Finally, our organization welcomes any discussions, public hearings, coordination, and joint engagement aiming at reaching concrete results for open and transparent governance