CIVIL is once again bringing up the Initiative for abolishment of privileges of officials. In days when the world economy is on its knees in dealing with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIVIL considers that it is high time to put a stop to the privileges of officials, which in past decades have been ravaging the budget in the country. Now, more than ever, the time has come when we need to think about the money of the citizens.
In a period of a pandemic and state of emergency for prevention of the infection, with a dissolved parliament and postponed parliamentary elections, major changes in legislation are not possible, but preparations to meet these demands can start.
Therefore, CIVIL welcomes the Government measures for reducing the incomes of officials, but now is the right time to start with preparations also for abolishment of the privileges. CIVIL welcomes and supports the initiative to return the budget funds of political parties to a common fund of citizens. The organization calls on all political parties, without manoeuvres and conditioning, to accept the initiative for returning the money from the parties to the budget.
CIVIL considers that political parties need to be reminded of the demands of this Initiative, submitted to services of the Parliament of the RNM, without response, in May 2019. We expect from the new parliamentary composition to accept and implement all the demands, and in the meanwhile, for the Government to continue with the started practice of saving and cutting the privileges of officials.
These are the demands of CIVIL’s Initiative for abolishment of the privileges:
- Cancelling of appanages at any level for any position.
- Cancelling of life-long pensions for former presidents, up to the moment they fulfil conditions for retirement, according to the incomes they had during their work service.
- Cancelling of money and other compensations for all managing boards, that is, the position in these and similar bodies should be honorary, and not a paid one.
- Cancelling or merging of state agencies, with a reduction in the number of employees. We demand cancelling of all privileges related to the use of official vehicles, representations, security for officials and other overly expensive privileges.
- Drastic reduction of travel costs of officials, more specifically, providing funds in the amount of the price of public transportation.
- Establishing a practice of banning procurement of medium and high class official vehicles.
- Cancelling discretionary powers of officials.
- Significant reduction of the excessive salaries of elected and appointed officials.
- Reduction in the number of MPs in the Parliament of the RNM from 120 to 80 MPs. Reduction in the number of ministers in the Government to a maximum of 10, and cancelling the position Minister without portfolio.
- To continue and expand the practice of Government transparency with public disclosure of salary and salary supplements of all officials and managerial staff in institutions and public enterprises at the local and national level.
- Introduction of regulations and practices for the privileges, similar to the ones in the Kingdom of Sweden or the Federal Republic of Germany, and even with greater restrictions.
CIVIL’s demands have been supported by over 6000 citizens on the online petition during the summer of 2019. These demands imply serious, sincere and consistent interventions in the following laws:
The Law on Salaries and Other Allowances of MPs;
The Law on MPs, Law on the Rights of the President, as well as many other laws, rules of procedure, regulations and other regulations that allow for wasteful spending of public money and abuse of power at the local and national level.
CIVIL and the citizens that support this initiative state that the spending of huge amounts of money for life-long privileges of former state presidents is meaningless, regardless of whether they had been up to the task or had been criminals. Simply, there is no logical reason for them to be living life-long in luxury at the expense of the poor citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, especially when the country, but also the entire world, is facing an unseen crisis.
Officials in the legislative and executive branch of government, and certainly also the local self-government, must give up their luxurious automobiles, travel expenses, representation costs, overly expensive trips for which they have poor excuses, luxuries furniture, procurement of artwork for “decorating” their workplace and all other conveniences to which they are entitled to base on laws behind which are suspicious, and even criminal motives.
CIVIL demands revision of all legal regulations according to which excessive privileges are given to both current and outgoing officials. At a time of global recession, and when health care and education are facing difficult consequences from the pandemic, it is meaningless to spend millions of euros for satisfying the appetites of officials.