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news 26 Dec 11

Bosnia Counts Millions Spent On Administration

Every hour almost half a million euros is spent on government administration in Bosnia.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

In the centre of Bosnian capital, citizens can see a digital counter that shows that every single second the government administration in the whole country takes away almost 150 euros from its various budgets.

“Look at this! They spend almost a million KM [500 thousand euros] an hour!” shouts Zulejha Hrlovic, a former Sarajevan street vendor, handing out information flyers on the main Ferhadija pedestrian shopping street.

The counter shows  that an amount of around 4,3 billion euro was spent on administration in 2011, mostly the costs of state institutions and officials' needs.

Around 66% of budgets at all levels of government are spent on salaries and costs of administration, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Bosnia that set up the counter in Sarajevo on December 23rd 2011.

“That is two-thirds of our taxes, which is unbearable if the country wants any kind of economic growth,” said Damir Mehmedbasic, an economic analyst from PIAC.

The main government institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the State Presidency, consisting of three members, the Council of Ministers, with the prime minister and nine other ministers, the State Parliament, with two houses, state judiciary institutions and several state agencies.

Under the terms of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, Bosnia has two autonomous entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. Both have their own entity presidencies, governments which each have more than ten ministries, parliaments with two houses, as well as entity judiciary institutions and agencies.

Brcko District is a local self-governing unit under international supervision with more than ten executive institutions, a district council and a variety of courts and agencies.

In the Federation entity there are also ten cantons, each with their prime ministers and more then ten ministries, and their accompanying cantonal parliaments, courts and agencies. The whole country has 143 municipalities of which every one has its own governing institutions.

“We have a way-too-large administration, way-too-many employees in the public sector,” said Mehmedbasic to Balkan Insight.

“And the cure for that is a reorganization of (the) money in budgets.”

The latest Bosnian state budget, from 2010, was around 500 million euros. The Federation entity budget for 2011 was 850 million euros and the Republika Srpska entity had a budget of 800 million euros this year.

State institutions in 2011 were on a temporary financing basis because Bosnia does not have a central government since the  October 2010 elections, the main reason why the Bosnian state-level government did not adopt a budget for 2011 or 2012.

The counter of government spending that sits in central Sarajevo is going to start from zero on January 1, 2012 and is due to remain in place for two years.

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