By: Genc Namani
THE COUNCIL OF MAYORS AND LAWMAKERS DISCUSS THE DRAFT LAW ON ALLOCATION FOR USE AND EXCHANGE OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY OF THE MUNICIPALITY
Within the framework of cooperation between local and central institutions, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) organized the meeting with the Council of Mayors, with the participation of members of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Services, Local Administration and Media. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the Draft Law on Allocation for Use and Exchange of Immovable Property of the Municipality.
The President of the Association of Kosovo Municipalities Mr.Agim Veliu in his opening speech said that “The Association of Kosovo Municipalities highly appreciates this meeting between the Council of Mayors and the Parliamentary Committee for Public Services, Local Administration and Media-two structures that represent the institutional cooperation between the two levels of governance in the processes of drafting legal acts, thus directly affecting the lives of our citizens.
The main reason why we are gathered here today is to discuss the Draft Law on Allocation for Use and Exchange of Immovable Property of the Municipality, which has passed on to the first reading in the Parliament of Kosovo as well as various amendments that have occurred in this Draft Law.
In addition, we as Association of Kosovo Municipalities have requested that the amendments made in this law should be substantial in order to enhance local economic development as well as impact the decline of the unemployment rate in Kosovo. This does not mean that we are against any institution or activity that this legal act combines itself. We have the Mayors here who will implement this law in the ground, however first I will elaborate some of our initial concerns:
Firstly, Article 11- Negotiation of offers by the Mayor is not included in the new Draft Law. According to this article the Mayor is entitled, without conducting preliminary procedures, to negotiate the offers submitted by interested parties and submit the final proposal for allocation for use of municipal immovable property for final adoption by the Municipal Assembly. This article recommended by the AKM was part of the Draft Law initially, however it was removed at the last moment and the draft law was sent to the Government without including this article. This has completely changed the purpose of the Draft Law since we consider that negotiation of offers by the Mayor will create greater opportunities to potential investors. Without this article, the law does not bring any changes and as a result lowers the opportunity to improve economic development of the municipalities, thus we requested to return this article and include it again in the draft law. After talking to the Government representatives we were told that this is a technical mistake and AKM has accepted this as such.
Secondly, Article 20- Allocation of immovable property of the municipality for special cases-part of the new draft law -point 1.1 says that: When the request for allocation for use is made by central institutions of Republic of Kosovo. The request shall be addressed by the Head of the relevant institution. However, this article does not specify in which cases the central institutions can make such a request without following the competition procedures, therefore AKM requests to specify the case and determine the purpose or remove completely this article.
In addition, Article 26- The right of the municipality to request the transfer of immovable property administered by the Privatization Agency of Kosovo-part of the new draft law. According to the point 3.2-Statement on the method of compensation of 20% of the share capital and 5% of the management fee and other administrative expenses, the Association of Kosovo Municipalities demands that the responsibility for compensation shall be taken by the Government since it is considered to be a major burden for municipal budgets.
Honorable lawmakers, these are just some of the initial points to open the debate, however with the help and proposals by the Mayors I believe that we can come up with concrete conclusions so that they can be incorporated or amended in the Draft Law. The aim of amending/supplementing this draft law is to enhance local economic development-said among other thing Mr.Veliu who requested the Mayors to be constructive and accurate in their requests while addressing the needs of local government in the Republic of Kosovo.
Furthermore, following the course of the meeting, Mayors presented several issues they face on the allocation for use and exchange of property for investors who have expressed interest in investing. The issues with public properties are also related with the Kosovo Property Agency and Kosovo Forestry Agency who does not consider municipalities’ requests, even though there have been indications of public interest for those properties. Particular articles such as 11, 20 and 26 were discussed during the meeting, however articles related to problem solving, unnecessary bureaucracy as well as conflicts of interest while allocating the property for use and exchange were discussed as well.
The Chairpersons and Members of the Parliamentary Committee for Public Services, Local Administration and Media were very constructive and cooperative and have requested more meetings in the future, in order for this law to assist municipalities in implementing their strategies for local economic development as well as provide employment opportunity for their citizens. One of the request towards AKM was to research for the best practices from region countries so that during drafting and amending the law these practices should be taken into consideration.
In conclusion, in the meeting between the Council of Mayors and the Parliamentary Committee for Public Services, Local Administration and Media it was said that:
1. AKM should contact NALAS in order to obtain the best practices from region countries regarding the legislation in force on Allocation for Use and Exchange of Immovable Property of the Municipality
2. Municipalities should make their proposals in a writing form (amendments of articles) by Wednesday, 3 October 2018, as the legal deadline between the first and the second hearing is sixty (60) days.
3. AKM should organize meetings with other stakeholders such as Kosovo Property Agency (KPA), Kosovo Forestry Agency (KFA) as well as Kosovo Cadastral Agency (KCA).