I am very pleased to announce that the European Commission has paid a first portion of nearly € 14 million to the Albanian national budget based on performance and progress so far in the public financial management reform implementation.
Improvement in public financial management is a necessary element for the EU to provide support also to other reforms, and it is in particular a concrete condition for the disbursement of some € 130 million so far agreed, out of the overall envelope of €650 million for 2014-2020, supporting the reforms in public administration, employment and vocational education, transport and fight against corruption.
Better and more transparent management of the limited resources of the state can potentially have a much larger impact than the funds the EU provides through savings, more efficient, prioritised and value for money spending, competitive procurement, reduced waste and corruption. Increased transparency and accountability to the citizens to have access to information on how public resources are used and what the results achieved is another essential element of the reform. Its results can potentially enable Albania to better afford public services such as fair justice, safe roads, good quality healthcare, education, safe food, efficient waste collection, clean drinking water and sanitation.
Since the start of the reform Albania has made progress in the implementation of the public financial management strategy. There has been progress in e.g. in clearance of arrears as hidden debt due to unpaid bills and VAT to companies accumulated prior to 2013, revision of the budget system law, strengthening internal control procedures and financial inspection capacity, more online access to the treasury system, fight against informality, improved external audit manuals and increased transparency of the budget. The structure of the Ministry of Finance was enhanced. The next assessment of the EC on the implementation of the reform is due in spring 2017.
The Government institutions, the High State Control, the Parliament all have an obligation to deliver and facilitate the implementation of this reform according to their mandate while for the citizens, research institutes and all the non-state actors it is in their best interest to have a role to play and engage more intensively to make the most of this reform implementation.