COUNCIL OF MAYORS DISCUSS MUNICIPAL BUDGET 2020 PROBLEMS WITH THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND TRANSFERS



By: Genc Namani

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The Association of Kosovo Municipalities through the mechanism of the Council of Mayors held a meeting with the Mayors of Kosovo and Mr Besnik Bislimi – Minister of Finance and Transfers in the Government of Kosovo to debate the final preparations for drafting the 2020 Budget Law and some urgent budgetary issues pertaining to Kosovo municipalities.

This forum has also debated the issue of municipalities with the Collective Contract, the issue of the Fourth Municipal Grant – for municipal projects, centralizing procurement for various supplies and representing municipalities in the Grants Commission.

Present in this meeting were also Deputy Mayors and Municipal Directors of Budget and Finance from the local government, while from the central level the Director of Kosovo Budget, Director of Treasury and the representative of Central Procurement Agency.

On behalf of the AKM Board, the meeting was opened by Mr Imri Ahmeti – Mayor of Lipjan who said that this meeting was organized also with the initiation by the Ministry of Finance to tackle some urgent budgetary issues related to municipalities of Kosovo. At the opening, Mayor Ahmeti thanked Mr Agim Veliu for his work and commitment so far and congratulated him on his new engagements. Regarding the topic of the meeting, he added that in this meeting we will address the process of formulating the 2020 budget and incorporating the increased salary code under the Salary Law but while awaiting the Constitutional Court’s ruling, the issue of the fourth Municipal Grant – on municipal projects, centralizing procurement for various supplies, the impact of the Collective Contract on municipal budgets and the representation of Municipalities in the Grants Commission.

Minister of the Ministry of Finance and Transfers Mr Besnik Bislimi said that this meeting is very important for the Ministry he leads in dealing with urgent issues related to municipal budgets 2020 and 2021. The key issue here is the increasing salary code under the new Law on Salaries and we today together with you must find a solution to the problem of salaries (without damaging municipal budgetary limits) until the entry into force of the Salaries Law following the Constitutional Court’s response.

The mayors and representatives of municipalities Mr Ramiz Lladrovci (Drenas), Haki Rugova (Istog), Shpend Ahmeti (Pristina), Bekim Jashari (Skenderaj), Ardian Gjini (Gjakova), Bashkim Ramosaj (Deçan), Fadil Krasniqi (Fushe Kosova), Kelmend Rexhepi (Kllokot), Naim Ferati (Ferizaj), Mazllum Qajani (Hani i Elezit) and central level representatives Salvador Elmazi – Budget Department, Ahmet Ismajli – Treasury Department, Behxhet Rukiqi – Central Procurement Agency also discussed on this topic.

Following discussions and debates, the Council of Mayors has drawn the following conclusions:

  1. The additional means for increasing Salaries under the new Law shall remain in a municipal reserve fund and intangible until the decision of the Constitutional Court.
  2. Municipalities support and welcome the Fourth Government Grant for Municipalities for investment in municipal projects with clear and comprehensive criteria.
  3. Municipalities require that obligations arising from the Central Level Collective Agreement do not remain a burden on municipal budgets but that an acceptable solution is found.
  4. Unblock the process of recruiting civilian staff within the permitted municipal quota and applicable laws.
  5. Modify and decentralize the public procurement process for general supplies.
  6. Municipalities request that their Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding with various Ministries be incorporated into the 2020 budget as well as the planning of Ministries for investment in municipalities.

* The full report with the discussions of the Mayors and others can be found in the February AKM Bulletin.