The Successes and Failures of Bulgarian Municipalities

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Close to 70% of the expenses of Bulgarian municipalities can be classified as „failures”, while only 5% can be considered successful. The rest, about a quarter of the activities, the execution of which doesn’t allow for a classification for either category, are considered as “unclassified”.

This is shown by an in-depth IME review of the audit reports of the Bulgarian National Audit Office. The reports contain data for 83 municipalities and their expenses for over 6 billion BGN for the 2011-2014 period.

The IME classifies expenses and programs, which have failed to achieve their pre-set goals as “failures”. This category also includesoutright waste of public resources, non-economic use of funds, bad management of property, violations in public work procurement procedures, etc.

The total cost of the administrative failures of Bulgarian municipalities amounts to 3.5 billion for the 2011-2014 period, which is over ⅔ of all municipal expenses. Even more concerning is the fact that 21 reports (about a quarter of all audit reports), have been send to the Prosecutor’s Office because of the presence of incriminating information.

It is interesting that the share of both “failing” expenses as well as the once containing data of unlawful activity is far greater than the ones in the central government. For comparison, prior IME analysis classified 40% of the central administration as failures and 25% as successes. In addition, less than 10% of the reports of the National Audit Office about the central government are send to the prosecutor’s office.

The effects of the “failures” of the municipalities in Bulgaria are present in all of their activities and duties. As expected, the main problems are primarily in managing the budget, public procurement and arranging municipal property. Sometimes inefficient administrative performance is due to the lack of capacity and funds, insufficient stimuli and/or bad planning. In other cases, however, the data in the reports gives a basis for serious suspicions for the existence of corruption and the pursuit of personal gain.

The analysis of the failures of Bulgarian municipality administrations shows the imperative need for additional control and transparency in terms of the usage of public funds. For this purpose, however, an effective judiciary is vital. A furthered decentralization of the municipal finances and privatization of the public property would additionally limit the suboptimal government spending of taxpayer’s money.


Full text of the analysis (in Bulgarian) - Here