Response to MANS’s claims: Life in Montenegro cannot stop due to elections

    #IpardLike #MinistryOfTransportAndMaritimeAffairs #GovernmentOfMontenegro #MinistryOfAgricultureAndRuralDevelopment #NgoSector #MinistryOfFinance #TheGovernment #BoardOfDirectors #TheGovernmentOfMontenegro #MinistryOfEconomy #YoungPeople #RadeMilošević #PublicCall #MinistryOfTransport #PressConference

    Podgorica, Montenegro (14 October 2016) — NGO Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS) presented at its press conference on 13 October 2016 and published on its web page a number of false claims about the alleged multimillion-spending of budget funds in order to attract voters. With a view to informing the public in a proper manner, we present the following facts that refute the key claims made by the NGO MANS, and thus the essence of their standpoint…

    Podgorica, Montenegro (14 October 2016) — NGO Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS) presented at its press conference on 13 October 2016 and published on its web page a number of false claims about the alleged multimillion-spending of budget funds in order to attract voters.

    With a view to informing the public in a proper manner, we present the following facts that refute the key claims made by the NGO MANS, and thus the essence of their standpoint.

    It is untrue that certain activities have been timed so that they are implemented ahead of the elections.

    Ministry of Agriculture in Rural Development

    Payment of funds to farmers through the IPARD like programme (or any other project) have nothing to do with the upcoming elections, but the activities are being undertaken in accordance with regular procedures, international agreements and natural cycles in agriculture.

    MANS claims that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development allocated over EUR 100,000 through the IPARD like programme in the pre-election period.

    Public call for the allocation of funds through the IPRAD like programme was published almost two years ago. Previously, the Ministry of Agriculture worked hard for a year to prepare the structures and establish procedures in order to enable the public call to be published, and farmers to continue to improve their production and competitiveness. Those who had met the requirements of the public invitation, 291 of them in the first round, signed the loan agreements on 2 October 2015. This means that only then they could go into investment, from its own funds or loans. Farmers began to implement the first investments on February 2016. In line with procedures, the deadline for disbursement of funds from the time of submission of applications until the final allocation of funds is 3 months. It is, therefore, logical that the funds based on the claims submitted in the period May – August should be allocated. Submission of applications is continuing, as farmers end up investments, and will be disbursed after the elections.

    Ministry of Economy

    It is untrue that the Ministry of Economy paid EUR 800,000 to private companies for the creation of new jobs for the purpose, as falsely stated by the MANS, of the pre-election employment.

    The facts show that the Government of Montenegro issued in 2015 the investment incentives regulation. Accordingly, it happened far before the elections. Public invitation under the regulation was issued by the Secretariat for Development Projects in March this year and was completed in May. Most importantly, the funds under this regulation shall be allocated in three instalments during the period up to three years – much after the completion of the elections. Disbursement of funds depends on when the investor have submitted a bank guarantee, implement the investment and hire workers for an indefinite period of time.

    Therefore, up to now, only EUR 237,000 was allocated based on both public calls of 2015 and 2016, depending on the fulfilment of these requirements.

    Ministry for Information Society and Telecommunication and Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs

    MANS claims that these two ministries do not publish information they are obligated to publish.

    As has been repeatedly stated, all the information required by the Law has been published, having in mind that the Law does not prescribe the content of analytical cards. The published analytical cards contain account number, which is nothing else but the purpose of the payment. An analytic card also contains number of orders for payment, the payment date and the amount.

    Both ministries are willing to submit additional information or data, but it is the fact that the legal requirements have been fully fulfilled.

    Employment Agency

    Financial resources for the implementation of the active employment policy measures envisaged by the Employment Agency’s Annual Programme of Action for 2016, and in line with the Employment Action Plan the Government of Montenegro adopted at the end of 2015, amount to EUR 6,65 million, after the increase in the amount of EUR 1,05 million, based on the act of the Ministry of Finance of 20 June 2016 (redirection has been provided during the period when Rade Milošević, a representative of the opposition, was heading the Employment Agency). These funds are planned to stimulate employment of 3,680 unemployed persons, which is at the level of the planned stimulation in 2015.

    In 2016, the active employment policy programmes has included 2,668 persons who have acquired the missing knowledge, skills and competences, raised the level of competitiveness in the labour market and have been employed for an indefinite period, or periods of 3 to 12 months. Employment Agency has spent EUR 3,724,752 out of EUR 6,65 million available. We emphasise that out of EUR 3,724,752, 2,341,972 has been allocated for the implementation of programmes intended for persons with disabilities. These programmes are known to the public: teaching assistants, personal assistants, employment subsidies for persons with disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, grant schemes for the employment of persons with disabilities and similar programmes. Other funds have been allocated for stimulating employment of young people, less employable persons, as well as for education and training of unemployed persons from the Employment Agency’s record.

    From the above, it is concluded that the Employment Agency, by undertaking its programme activities, has not deviated, in any segment, the prescribed and binding rules of its operation.

    Investment and Development Fund

    Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro (IDF) operates in accordance with the Law on the IDF, the Law on Banks, the Companies Law, as well as its own procedures and regulations. Any decision on providing loans for projects, which are taken by the IDF Board of Directors, are published on the official website of the IDF, which makes all the information related to approved loans with amounts and purposes transparent and available to the public.

    IDF operates in line with market principles, which means that the international capital market provides loan funds, invest these funds in the Montenegrin economy and is responsible for the return of these funds. When the loan support is provided by international financial institutions, each project passes the authorisation procedure by the authorities of the international financial institutions. This means that the IDF is not a budgetary institution implying that it does not provide funds from the Budget of Montenegro and that the loans’ funds are not provided by the Montenegrin taxpayers, but the market itself. This way, the IDF provides, at market conditions, coverage of all the costs necessary for pursuing its business policy.

    This indicates that the MANS’s claims that the IDF is hiding information about the approved loans, while spending the state’s millions, are filly unfounded. Gentlemen of MANS should visit the website and read the laws. In addition, MANS representatives are very well familiar with the fact that the IDF provided EUR 10.7 million in 2015 for agriculture and food production (data available on the web site), and only EUR 2.8 in the election year of 2016. Institutions cannot stop working due to the elections, but they have to carry out business activities under the law.

    Conclusion

    There is no doubt, as the facts show contrary to the flat-rate estimates, that in these cases there is no abuse for the purposes of elections. On the contrary.

    The only way to prove the claims true is to stop life in Montenegro on account of the elections – not to build roads, not to create new jobs, not to invest in infrastructure, not to boost development, people should not be born or die. Although it would be useful to prove such claims, it is neither possible nor wise.

    PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT
    MINISTRY OF ECONOMY
    MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
    MINISTRY FOR INFORMATION SOCIETY AND TELECOMMUNICATION
    MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND MARITIME AFFAIRS
    INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT FUND OF MONTENEGRO
    EMPLOYMENT AGENCY OF MONTENEGRO

    Source: Government of Montenegro