22.11.2022. / 9:30
BANJALUKA – The reform of the Inspectorate of Republika Srpska has been going on for five years, and like other reforms in public administration with no end in sight, it has a negative impact and encourages the growth of corruption and crime.
The reform of the inspection announced the unification of the local and republican inspection in order to make controls better, abuse of inspectors less, and business operations of companies easier.
In theory, that plan would make it possible to avoid duplication of inspection controls, which provides the opportunity for various abuses in the relationship between officials and businessmen, whose work is under their supervision.
Namely, in 2017, the Government of the RS accepted the objections of the business community on the work of inspections in the RS and their request to implement reform in this area. In the first phase, the situation was analyzed, recommendations were implemented for the development and adoption of an action plan for the reform of inspections in the Republic of Srpska. The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska adopted the Law on Inspections of the Republic of Srpska in February 2020, which entered into force in March 2020.
After that, a new systematization was adopted in the Inspectorate. The available information shows that the reform is moving at a slow pace at best, without a clear vision of what it should look like in the future, nor when it will be completed.
Corona slowed down the reform
The Inspectorate of the RS explained that the Law on Inspections of the RS entered into force in March 2020, but that the implementation of the Law itself was postponed due to the emergence of the corona virus and the declaration of a state of emergency later.
“Within the framework of the reform process, it is foreseen to take over labor inspectors who perform inspection supervision at the level of local self-government units, as well as the obligation of local self-government units to provide prerequisites for work in the Inspection Information System”, it was stated in the RS Inspectorate.
They specified that during 2021 and 2022, the labor inspectors were taken over and the Inspection Information System was upgraded, which was a prerequisite for connecting local self-government units to work in a single system.
“By the end of the current year, the appropriate sub-legal act for work in the Inspection Information System should be adopted, after which the implementation of the same in local self-government units will begin,” they said in the Inspectorate and noted that “the further course of the reform process depends on the determination of the Government of the Republic of Srpska”.
Slowness, a clear sign of lack of interest
Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina says that the slowness so far has been a clear indicator of a lack of interest in reform.
“However, since it has been shown in a large number of examples through our practice that inspections are very reserved in acting within their competences, which may be a sign of political or other influence. It is very important to improve this area, primarily through the possibility of legal protection. Currently, only the person who is the subject of supervision, and not the reporter, can file a complaint, which makes it much more difficult for any person who notices and reports an irregularity to exercise their rights. Also, review of inspection decisions before independent bodies is not possible”, they said in TI BiH.
What is the commitment of the RS Government?
The RS government was not in the mood to talk about this topic in more detail, abdicating responsibility. In their written response, they stated that the RS Inspectorate should provide answers to the questions on how far the reform has come, and what are the deadlines for its completion.
So the question remains open – What is the determination of the RS Government? Judging by the Program of Economic Reforms of the RS 2023-2025. adopted by the RS National Assembly on November 2, 2022, there are no concrete plans for the future.
In that document, it was stated that the reform of the Inspectorate of Srpska was not transferred to the program for 2023 – 2025, from the Program of Economic Reforms of the RS 2022 – 2024, “bearing in mind that the realization of the planned activities within this measure is foreseen in 2022, and that these activities are part of regular work under the jurisdiction of the Inspectorate of the Republic of Srpska”.
The document states in a few more sentences which activities the RS Government has participated in so far and this year’s activities of the Inspectorate, but without guidelines that would indicate what the further plans are for the implementation of this reform.
The lack of information on this topic has also affected local communities, whose inspectorates are also part of this reform.
Each inspection interprets the regulations in its own way
The President of the Union of Municipalities and Cities of RS Ljubiša Ćosić says that he cannot remember the last time he heard or received any new information on this topic.
“At the moment, we have a dualism of local and republican inspections that somehow function, but do not have clearly defined boundaries”, he said and added that reforms in this field must create better coordination between republican and local authorities.
Director of the Union of Employers of the RS, Saša Aćić, says that it is important for employers to achieve consistency in the application of regulations, and this is possible by unifying inspections.
“We have a problem right now; the republican inspection interprets regulations in one way, and the local inspection in another, which creates problems in business and can be a source of corruption. On the other hand, local communities have an interest in introducing some new parafiscal levies, and through that the whole system loses its integrity”, Acić said.
He considers that it is an unacceptable excuse that there are no material means for unifying inspections, considering the size of the economy and the size of the community in terms of the number of inhabitants.
“We think that one republican administration is enough and that it should all be unified, with the digitization of procedures and processes within the inspectorate. That way, we will get a better result when it comes to the fight against corruption,” Acić said.
CAPITAL: Vesna Popović
Source: Capital.ba – Informacija je capital by www.capital.ba.
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