Authors: Angela Rajchevska and Bjanka Stankovikj
Despite the public commitments to rational budget management, in reality most municipalities continue to spend carelessly when it comes to public money. The SCOOP research within the PEP project shows that 64 municipalities from the Republic of North Macedonia spent a total of 2,220,634 Euros for the last three years. On average, during this time period each municipality spent about 34,000 Euros, or over 11,000 Euros per year.
The Municipality of Strumica is a record holder in representation costs compared to other municipalities. In the last three years this local self-government unit, only for feasting and other activities for representation of the institution, spent 230,073 Euros in catering facilities and companies. Second on the list is Struga with 169,648 Euros, followed by Prilep with 161,866 Euros, Bitola 153,392 Euros and Gjorce Petrov 101,535 Euros. Whereas the municipality of Plasnica spent the least, 1,155 Euros and up to 3,000 Euros were spent in Zrnovci, Rankovce, Kratovo and Studenicani.
Municipalities “regular customers” in certain restaurants and companies
The highest contract for representation for 2019 is the contract of the Municipality of Karbinci. Karbinci has signed a catering service contract with the Oil and Petroleum Products Exporting Company VAGO PETROL LLC from the village of Krupishte, Karbinci, worth 9,756 Euros. According to data from the Public Procurement Bureau at time.mk, the municipality of Karbinci cooperated with this company in 2018 when it allocated 8.130 Euros for catering and representation in 2018 and 4.878 Euros in 2016.
According to the replies received from the municipality of Karbinci, 7,705 Euros have been spent for representation in 2019.
Municipality of Gjorce Petrov had the highest tender for representation in 2018. It was a contract worth 15,350 Euros for printing calendars, folders and pens that the municipality had concluded with the Company for employment of people with disabilities, production, trade and services MAKSTEN GRAPHIKA DOOEL import-export Skopje. In the same year with the same company the municipality signed a contract worth 43,881 Euros for printing newspapers, official bulletins, monographs, posters and other advertising material. In 2019, 2,878 Euros were spent for the same contract.
A few institutions clients of the same firm
According to documents obtained from Gjorce Petrov municipality, 26.586 Euros were spent for representation in 2018.
In 2017 the highest contract for catering services (representation) was signed by the Municipality of Radovish, with the Trade, Import-Export Company BESTFOOD TI Radovish. This contract is 9,154 Euros. For the same purpose and almost the same funds this municipality cooperated with the same company in 2016, 2014 and 2013. BESTFOOD concludes contracts worth up to 100,000 Euros with Ministries of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, including the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.
According to documents obtained from the municipality of Radovish, 5,045 Euros were spent for representation in 2017.
According to the municipal rulebooks, the term “representation” means funds used to celebrate events, anniversaries, holidays, seminars, workshops, as well as events and activities of interest to the operations of the municipalities. The funds most often relate to refreshments and spirits, food, tickets for sports and cultural event, gifts for special occasions such as souvenirs, scarves, ties, notebooks, stationery, pens, calendars and other representative material. The representation also includes organized visits; working meetings with internal associates and external representatives of delegations, state institutions etc.
SCOOP previously wrote about the costs of representation in municipalities. Research and insight into the invoices then showed that in S. Macedonia is spending millions on representation.
SCOOP has previously written about municipal representation costs. The research and insight into the invoices then showed that millions were spent on representation in N. Macedonia.