State Audit institution (SAI) has published 1000 audit reports so far, whereby almost half of them relate to local governments, and not a single one has received positive opinion, said Dr. Duško Pejović, SAI President and Auditor General.
During the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding between the USAID mission to Serbia and local governments, he emphasized that the majority of opinions were qualified opinions, according to the audit standards.
"Not a single positive audit report was published, because irregularities determined by SAI exceeded the prescribed limits", Dr. Pejović said.
"Large problem in local governments is the lack of internal control and internal audit, which are either non-existent or, where they are established, they do not function properly",Dr. Pejović said. He added that 60-80% of irregularities relate to public procurements, payments without legal grounds and valid documents, as well as employee salary calculation.
Minister of State Administration and Local Government, Mr. Branko Ružić, said that it was very good that SAI pointed to all elements and deficiencies of local governments, because that will help in removal of irregularities in operations.
"Do you expect to find an ideal conditions everywhere? That is not possible, of course, but the role of SAI is to point to deficiencies if there are any, and have them removed. All local governments, or at least majority of them, are removing those deficiencies, not only this year, but also in previous years", Mr. Ružić said.
USAID Project Government Accountability Initiative, with total budget of 8.5 million Euros, signed the memoranda with seven representatives of local governments - Šabac, Sombor, Sjenica, Vrnjačka Banja, Vranje, Raška and Dimitrovgrad. Funds are allocated to provision of technical assistance for reducing corruption in public administration.
Director of the USAID Mission to Serbia, Mr. Mike de la Rosa, said that the Project would bring about benefits to citizens, because it will affect the transparency of spending of public funds.