The incomplete provisions and the lack of clear procedures in the Parliament Regulations do not allow the Legislature to exercise effective supervision over public institutions. The reports of independent institutions and regulatory agencies are not examined and there are no public hearings on them in the standing committees and the plenary of Parliament. These are some of the conclusions of the round table "Reporting to Parliament: between trust and legislative responsibility", held on May 18. The event was organized by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Policies (CAPE), with the support of the International Center for Private Entrepreneurship (CIPE).
"Our think thank, in close cooperation with the most influential business associations in the country, promotes decision-making transparency and the authorities' responsibility for improving trust in these state institutions. And today's event is a good opportunity to consider the gaps in the Government's reform in business perception. The results of the discussion will be presented to the Parliament and the Government and we will monitor the implementation of the proposed recommendations", emphasized the director of CAPE", Tatiana Lariușin.
The event addressed the main conclusions of the study "Trust in public institutions by hearing reports by the Parliament". The publication, signed by Viorel Pîrvan, legal expert and Mihail Manoli, program director "Corporate Governance and Public Finances", CAPE, presents the gaps identified in the process of parliamentary supervision of public institutions and agencies and formulates a series of actions to improve the regulatory framework and parliamentary control. The main topic of discussion with the representatives of the national authorities, deputies in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, representatives of the business environment, mass media and civil society experts was the capitalization of the reporting tool towards the Parliament to ensure the trust and responsibility of independent institutions and regulatory agencies.
According to the study, the parliamentary committees face great difficulties in monitoring the implementation of the recommendations as a result of the public hearings. Public authorities and persons responsible for implementing the recommendations do not inform the commissions about the actions taken, and the commissions do not follow the implementation process of the recommendations.
"This situation is largely caused by the lack of procedures and legal instruments for monitoring the recommendations in the Parliament's Regulation, by the lack of consequences and levers to hold the public authorities and the people responsible for implementing the recommendations accountable, but also by the reduced capacities of the commissions and subdivisions to the Secretariat of the Parliament to efficiently carry out this task", mentions Viorel Pîrvan.
For his part, Mihail Manoli believes that "The effective exercise of parliamentary supervision over public institutions certainly leads to the improvement of the economy, the development of the private sector, the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending".
During the round table, the role and capacities of the parliamentary committees in the analysis and hearing of the reports of the public authorities presented to the Parliament were discussed, including the procedures and legal instruments for monitoring the recommendations as a result of the hearings of the reports of the public authorities. In particular, the measures to improve the hearing process of the reports of public institutions and agencies that have a major impact on the business environment were debated: the Court of Accounts, the National Financial Market Commission, the National Energy Regulatory Agency and the Competition Council.
Thus, while the MPs talked about the supervision relationship between the Parliament and the public authorities, the representatives of the public authorities under Parliamentary control revealed the challenges of the supervision by the Legislature and proposed to the elected people some recommendations for the efficiency of the reporting of the public authorities to Parliament as an instrument of parliamentary control.
“Indeed, in the current version of the Parliament's Regulation, this procedure is described in insufficient detail and regulations are contained in special laws, and those, very different. We agree that the accountability and monitoring levers are missing. And in this sense, our plan is that by the end of this year we will have approved the Code of Parliamentary Procedures, which will contain the regulations regarding the reporting and hearing of the institutions, so that the procedure of analysis, examination, and hearing of the reports will be as transparent as possible, but also that the procedure for monitoring the form recommendations be clear", said Olesea Stamate, the president of the Legal Commission, Appointments and Immunities.
At the same time, the head of the legal department within the Parliament, Ion Creangă, added: "Parliamentary control refers on the one hand to political control, and on the other hand, to the control of the execution of laws and their efficiency, which is important for business and civil society. Mechanisms exist, but quality is a problem and here we must work together with civil society and business to provide support to parliamentary committees to make this process of parliamentary control more efficient".
"If until the formation of the Parliamentary Committee for the control of public finances less than 30% of the reports of the Court of Accounts were examined, starting from 2020 an efficient, lucrative system was established and 80, 90% of the reports are examined by the committee, in 2021, 40 Court reports will be heard. Analytical audit reports come to provide the Parliament with a diagnostic analysis of the situation regarding the use by the executive institutions of public financial means and public properties. We mention our total openness and availability in the context of streamlining and ensuring cooperation with the Parliament", said Marian Lupu, the president of the Court of Accounts.
"We are very responsible for our activity and we do not shy away from accountability, but this accountability must be done with maximum clarity, both for us and for society", said Violina Șpac, director of ANRE.
"It is important that the reporting takes place, but more important is the effective communication between the Parliament, the authorities and the sectors under supervision so that the Parliament has the conviction that the authorities are following the right direction", Cornelia Cozlovschi, the president of the National Financial Market Commission, believes.
For their part, civil society representatives emphasized the importance of an effective reporting process to Parliament to ensure public trust.
"Parliamentary control has, over time, been used for personal purposes rather than in the public interest. It is surprising that certain newly appointed directors are heard before Parliament, although the institution is heard, so the perception is that the leaders are heard and not entity itself. It would be important to see what is the balance between the exercise of the function and the finding of the improper exercise of the exercise of the functions and those principles of independence in the case of the authorities under parliamentary control", emphasized Mariana Klaughin, anti-corruption expert, Transparency International Moldova.
"There are very large backlogs in terms of parliamentary control, and the reports of the authorities under parliamentary control are not qualitative enough", believes Ion Stratulat, vice-president of the Federation of Employers in Construction and the Production of Construction Materials.
To improve the regulatory framework and parliamentary control, the authors of the study formulate a series of recommendations. The most important actions include improving the legal framework for streamlining the reporting of public authorities to Parliament as an instrument of parliamentary control; Strengthening the role and capacities of parliamentary committees in analyzing and hearing the reports of public authorities presented to Parliament; but also the inclusion in the Parliament's Regulations of some procedures and legal instruments for monitoring the recommendations of the standing committees and the plenary session of the Parliament as a result of the public hearings.
According to the statistical reports on the activity of the Parliament, the central specialized bodies of the public administration and those formed by the Parliament presented to the Legislature 29 reports in 2019, 28 reports in 2020 and 35 reports in 2021. In the last three calendar years, they were presented in to the plenary sessions of the Parliament 1 - 3 reports of the public authorities, as a rule only one report per year is heard. This is happening in the context where, according to special laws, 14 reports of public authorities were to be heard in the plenary session of the Parliament in 2021.
In the Republic of Moldova there are 20 independent institutions and regulatory agencies that report to the Parliament. These are the Constitutional Court, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Superior Council of Magistrates, the Intelligence and Security Service, the National Anti-Corruption Center, ANI, the Ombudsman, the National Center for the Protection of Personal Data, CEC, ANSC, BNM, ANRE, the National Council for Legal Assistance Guaranteed by the State, the Council for preventing and eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality, the Public Property Agency, the Audiovisual Coordinating Council, the Deposit Guarantee Fund in the banking system, the Court of Accounts, the National Financial Market Commission and the Competition Council.
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Policy (CAPE) is an independent analytical center whose mission is to support the development of democracy and a functioning economy through public policies focused on the development of the private sector and the stimulation of private initiative. Through this, CAPE supports the participation of the business environment in the democratic process, the promotion of well-structured public-private dialogue, offers support to associations through expertise, facilitating the introduction of international anti-corruption and conduct standards, training and knowledge transfer.
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