On 24 October 2014 the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER) in collaboration with the House of Europe (HoE), organized a round-table to present the Albanian Corruption Assessment Report, prepared under the SLEDI project and to further validate the findings and recommendations of this report. The discussion focused on the main findings of the Albanian Corruption Assessment report and the survey conducted at the beginning of 2014, by using the SELDI Corruption Monitoring System methodology.
During the opening session, Mr. Zef Preci, Executive Director of the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER) welcomed the participants and presented the SELDI network aims and objectives in the anti-corruption area and the purpose of this roundtable.
Mr. Genci Pasko, Resident Advisor of TASCO spoke about SELDI project by stressing that this is a regional project, which has provided trainings, personalized assistance and increase the local and regional network.
Mr. Fatmir Memaj, the President of the Albanian Socio-Economic Think-Thank which conducted the survey, presented the methodology used to conduct the survey by stressing the same methodology is used in eight other countries for this survey and it is the Corruption Monitoring System methodology.
Ms. Alba Cela, the Deputy Director of House of Europe made a presentation of the key aspects of Corruption Assessment Report on Albania, including: anti-corruption policies and regulatory framework, institutional practices and the implementation of law, the role of the judiciary in corruption, corruption and the economy, civil society and international cooperation in anti-corruption.
Ms. Brunilda Kosta, Researcher at ACER, presented the main results of the survey about the level of corruption in Albania. Based on the survey, it resulted that the corruption seemed to be one of the three paramount problems in Albania. When looking at the share of population who report to having experienced corruption pressure, the overall share has been declining from 72.8 % in 2001, to 61.9% in 2002, and to 45.3% in 2014. Citizen perceptions on corruption prevalence, meaning the prevalence of the corruptive practices in the public sector employees, are quite high: 74% of people interviewed. The survey shows that Albanian citizens still see corruption as an efficient tool for solving problems in relation with state institutions and public administration, but this year this index has slightly improved. In the ranking of institutions based on public perception about their inclusion or not in corruption, judges and customs officers are considered as the most corrupted
Ms. Erisa Proko, Adviser of the Minister of state for Local Issues started the discussion session and provided a summary on the reforms undertaken by the Ministry. She said that actually they are putting more effort on the regulatory framework for the public administration. In the context of this latter, there have been taking measures for reforms and consultations, even for the line ministries.
Mr. Geron Kamberi from the Department of Political and Legal issues of OXFAM, highlighted some main concerns related to corruption and anticorruption efforts in Albania:
• The structures of the institutions dealing to corruption are very complex. Thus, he recommend simplifications of the structures created by the government in the framework of the fight against corruption. From his perspective, all these structures create disorder rather than an effective approach of combating corruption;
• He recommended for the policy to focus on those sectors that are highly risked to be corrupted such as the health sector;
• He stressed that substential problem in the country is the lack of sustainability of anti-corruption structures that change every mandate of the political parties on power. There is need of institutional solutions, where the results must be existent even the change of the political parties in power.
Mr. Gerti Shella, the Executive Director of the Center for Public Information Issues highlighted that actually we really need concrete measures for an effective implementation of the strategies and policies against corruption in Albania.
Mr. Arben Malaj from Institute for Public Policy and Good Governance stressed that the issues of corruption in Albania should not be dealt from the government structures but from other relevant institutions out of government, in order for the assessments to be rationale and realistic. He emphasized that the publication of the Corruption Assessment reports should be consistent and sustainable, in order to create the possibility to compare the trend and developments from year to year. In addition, the government must be the main participant of these events.
Ms. Grida Duma from the Albanian Policy Center identified as a bottleneck the lack of ”a common digital map” which would facilitate the control from all institutions. Furthermore, there are a lot of government structures that are created to fight corruption but they have overlapping responsibilities and none of them works in an effective manner. Thus, she recommended the simplification of these structures and the clarification of their duties and responsibilities.
Ms. Majlinda Keta, Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences underlined that the biggest problem she see is the complete substitution of the existing employees with new ones, losing this way all positive experience previously acquired.
Ms. Zajmira Çavo, a very well-known analyst in the field of social aspects, mentioned that the corruption monitoring process should be done externally. This would make the whole process more rational and objective.
The roundtable was concluded by Mr. Zef Preci who emphasized the main corruption and anti-corruption issues pointed out during the discussions and the need for institutional solutions that are sustainable.