Throughout 15 editions of Grey Book, the citizens, businesses and the expert public nominated more than 300 proposals for simplifying or eliminating redundant bureaucracy, of which competent institutions implemented almost half - 82 in full and 73 partially. Each of them was a race in itself, and the latest edition included 18 new and 82 improved recommendations.
The jubilee of the Grey Book encouraged a recap of implemented reforms as well as missed chances, some of which have been waiting for more than 10 years to be initiated and implemented. The editor-in-chief of the NIN weekly Milan Ćulibrk and NALED's Program Director Jelena Bojović talked about the new, old and priority recommendations of the Grey Book and many other issues in the latest NALED podcast.
- Back in the first edition of the Grey Book, we worked on the initiative to form a single service for registration and deregistration of workers, because at that time, for each worker individually, you had to go to 10 places: the health fund, the pension fund, the Tax Administration, the National Employment Service... With that initiative, we have certainly saved 100 million over the past ten years - explains Bojović when asked which reform recommended from the Grey Book is her favorite.
In addition to the significant number of implemented reforms that originated as Grey Book initiatives, a large number of them remained either partially resolved or completely unresolved. One of the reasons for the non-implementation of recommendations is the lack of motivation and insufficiently effective work of officials from the state and local administration, the podcast guests agreed.
- Officials do not have the motivation to solve complex problems, another problem is the lack of capable people to do their job properly. We are now paying the guild due to the ban on employment in the public sector, we are paying the guild for the non-existence of pay grades where people who are paid 50-60 thousand dinars are expected to provide you with superior legal solutions. Any better lawyer will rather work in the private sector because they will be doing much less important and difficult work for much more money. When you add it all up, you can see why it's difficult for us to see things through to the end - concludes the editor-in-chief of NIN.
Jelena Bojović followed up on the topic of the dissatisfaction of civil servants and noted who are the sources that provide the most Grey Book recommendations, indicating that it is often the employees themselves who, by giving proposals, show initiative and point out the shortcomings they encounter in their work, aware that some procedures are not good enough as they are.
In addition to weak motivation, Ćulibrk believes that another reason for the slow reform pace is the long delay of the inevitable transition.
- We are in a trance since the transition. If we had wisely invested money in new capacities and not in two failed public companies, we would certainly have an additional 10-15 billion euros in revenue in the next 10 years. Divided by 6 million inhabitants, that's 2,000 euros in everyone's pocket, and like this, 500 euros out of everyone's pocket. If I asked you whether you would like to receive 2,000 euros or give 500, everyone would know what they want, it's just that it should be presented that way - explained Ćulibrk.
NALED's guests also referred to the case of "unlawful construction", which has been a problem for the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure for years, but even after several updated amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction from 2009, an adequate solution has not yet been adopted. for the legalization procedure of buildings.
- More and more illegal facilities and more and more new laws that should solve it... The longer this agony of legalization goes on, the worse it gets because people no longer believe in the system. This recommendation of ours insists on optimization and digitization, because if this does not happen, the research we did in 2020 shows that it would take over 40 years to legalize all currently illegal facilities - Bojović explains.
While we are witnessing fierce urbanization and uncontrolled growth of buildings from all sides, our country is suffering more and more from the ecological aspect. On the pages of the Grey Book, recommendations have been read for years regarding the important issue of improving waste and wastewater management.
- 4, 5 years ago, estimates were made that we would need about 15 billion euros to harmonize those chapters in the environmental policy. This country has no money for that, and the situation is getting worse every year. I guess that guild is already around 20 billion now. The question is whether we will ever raise enough money to fix it. And if we ruin the country, everything else is for nothing - says Ćulibrk.
A mitigating circumstance for the implementation of a single recommendation is the focus on a specific ministry. As the program director of NALED explains, the most demanding task is the implementation of a reform that encroaches on the sphere of activity of several ministries, because it implies the coordination of even thousands of officials, several hundreds of bodies, local self-governments...
- When we have more than two ministries participating in something that we need to solve - it will certainly not be solved. In the case of parafiscals, all 17 ministers are in question
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