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The budget shows the consequences of the disastrous EPS management

Serbia's budget for 2023 is insufficiently transparent in the part that refers to the costs incurred due to the poor performance of public companies, primarily the Electric Power Company of Serbia (EPS), and citizens are still without the opportunity to influence priority investments.

In its assessment of the budget proposal, the Fiscal Council indicated that the Government did not clarify how the losses of EPS and Srbijagas occurred and how the approximately one billion euros intended for these companies will be spent. The budgetary costs for EPS are the result of "primarily the disastrous management of this company in previous years, and not the world energy crisis, " emphasising the Fiscal Council analysis.

For years, Transparency Serbia has been indicating a problem with party appointments, mainly of acting officials to top positions in public companies, which has turned into openly illegal management. The budget proposal for 2023 shows the price of such non-domestic management.

The Fiscal Council also indicated that the system of selection, implementation and monitoring of infrastructure projects in Serbia should be significantly improved and more transparent. In this regard, Transparency Serbia specifies that citizens do not have the opportunity to express themselves about which projects represent priority and whether they agree that the state should take on additional debt for their implementation. At the same time, the law does not regulate prioritisation, and justification analyses are often not publicly available.

Serbia can look at what other countries are doing, but it can also look up to its local self-governments, where in dozens of cities and municipalities, there are excellent mechanisms for consulting citizens on what the priorities are, especially when it comes to capital projects.