Launch of the Procurement Transparency Index Annual Report

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Launch of the Procurement Transparency Index Annual Report, August 7, 2018

It’s great to be here with you all. Thank you for joining us today. I’m really happy to be here for the launch of the Procurement Transparency Index.

I think we all know that procurement reform is critical for addressing corruption in Kosovo when more than half of the government’s budget is going through the public procurement system at both the national and the municipal level.

Today, we are talking about transparency and public procurement at that local, municipal level. This is where the government is closest to the people and the first place where local officials must foster a deeper trust between themselves and their communities. After all, you as municipal officials live in these communities and when they thrive, you succeed as well.

In terms of economic development, open, transparent procurement creates a playing field that’s level for the private sector. While individual businesses may need to take risks, they thrive in stable, transparent environment, bound by the rule of law.

At the local level, open, transparent procurement can profoundly improve service delivery and investment in your communities. When it comes to infrastructure projects, education and health care, transparent procurement is vital for citizens’ well-being.  Although you have heard me talk about procurement reform before, I am especially energized today because we are here to see what municipal governments have achieved and where they still have work to do.

For example, municipalities are required by law to publish procurement information on their websites. But as the report today shows, some municipalities have fallen behind on this obligation.

We strongly encourage municipal governments to meet their legal requirements. This Index also reveals that many municipalities have not met the requirement for public hearings.  As a result, they are missing an important opportunity to share information about their procurement plans with their citizens.  We hope that municipal governments will take this seriously and will hold more public hearings.

I want to focus on the positive. So, I want to underscore that this Index and its findings also represent opportunities for municipalities and opportunity for self-reflection and for growth–to re-examine performance and pursue improvements and opportunities for a better future for their constituents.

However, this is not only about municipal officials. This index is also a huge opportunity for the people of Kosovo to become more involved in serving as watchdogs and holding their municipalities accountable. Remember, the municipalities work for the citizens.

I’d like to thank the Kosovo Democratic Institute for its work on the Index and its commitment to more open and transparent governance.  I’d also like to thank municipalities for their cooperation in compiling this report.  Finally, I want to congratulate the Public Procurement Regulatory Commission for taking another step on its journey toward a more transparent procurement system and providing open contracting data to the public using the open transparency portal.

It is this spirit of engagement and openness that is so crucial and so important to Kosovo’s future, to your future. Thank you very much.