The report is prepared in the framework of the project: “Integrity Watch in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Civil society combating corruption with political integrity data”. This report builds on the assessment of nine datasets, conducted by TI-Macedonia, including: lobbying meetings, assets and interests of public officials, directories of public officials, government budget and spending, public procurement, political financing, voting records, and awarded concessions for exploration of mineral goods. These datasets were identified as critical tools for ensuring transparency, detecting political corruption and developing risk indicators of political integrity.
In general, it can be said that transparency is on a satisfactory level. The Law on Access to Information of Public Character is well implemented and the institutions are open for cooperation, but still there are institutions, agencies and state-owned enterprises that are lacking transparency and no data are available on their webpages. Therefore, more work is needed on creating datasets and databases which will contain data that are more structured, easier for research and analysis and are updated regularly.
In this regard, of particular relevance in the context of North Macedonia is the existence of data on political financing, public procurement, and awarded concessions for exploration of mineral goods. Firstly, due to risks of undue influence of vested interests on law making and on the allocation of public funds, having a political financing database with clear overview of donors, recipients, amounts of state funding, etc., is critical. Secondly, easy overview of the public procurement notices and awarded contracts published by the relevant institutions (ministries and municipalities), as well as the analysis of changes in the fortune of politically connected companies after the government change enables a clear picture of potential favouritism of politically connected firms in the allocation of public resources. Finally, the awarded concessions for exploration of mineral goods have a clear relevance due to economic and environmental consequences of these decisions.
Databases on political financing, public procurement and awarded concessions for exploration of mineral goods will be build by TI- Macedonia.