IBNA Interview/Harito: Public administration in Albania is under a process of reformation

IBNA Interview/Harito: Public administration in Albania is under a process of reformation

In an exclusive interview for IBNA, Minister for Innovation and Public Administration in Albania (MIPA), Milena Harito talks about the process of the reformation of the administration of the country. Mrs. Harito says that the government is fully clear about its constitutional obligation to comply with court rulings about employees who have been laid off

How reformed is the public administration and how modernized is public service during one year of your government in office?

Public administration has entered a process of reformation. All of this, starting with the holding of contests for vacancies in the public administration. This process, which is the first one of this kind in the history of the public administration, brings several novelties. First of all, the entire process is automated and based on innovative and modernized techniques. Starting from the application form. It’s carried out entirely online. The application must be made in a correct manner, all the specified details must be carefully read and application is supported by the required documents. The contest itself is based on high transparency and offers equal chances for everyone. But, the best wins in the contest.

Some say that every government that takes office, removes the militants of the other side and employs its own ones. Do you think this “tradition” continues?

Public administration reform is a process which requires time as we’re facing a radical change as far as relations of state employees with their job are concerned. Working for the state can no longer be considered as a job where the employee benefits from the perks that the post offers him without giving back what his duty requires from him. This government will put an end to this model, by returning public servants at the service of the citizens.

Is it true that the government is planning to make an amendment to the bill on civil servants? If yes, are we expecting to see crucial changes or corrections?

The first year of the implementation of the civil servant law has put us in front of many challenges which must be addressed. Starting from the issue of the management of court rulings, some of which date back from 10 years. There are also problems in the application of the law after the territorial reform. Thus, the law certainly needs improvement. For this, we’re collaborating with the European Commission, in order to find the best applicable options, because as you know, we have plenty of laws on the paper which are never applied.

Do these amendments in the law have to do with the launch of negotiations with the EU?

There are certain issues for which the new law on civil servant doesn’t offer a full solution. One of them is the issue of the performance of civil servants. Yes, the timeline of the launch and then holding of negotiations with the EU, depends on the level of professionalism of public administration. Negotiations are technical and require a high level of professionalism. All the citizens also expect from this administration to offer a higher level of services in all levels. This is why it’s important to set clear performance criteria for civil servants. As it’s the case with big private companies, in state administration too, workers must perform with concrete results in order to be able to develop their career. The country needs a quality administration at the service of the citizens, as it needs a quality administration which will know how to hold negotiations for European integration.

What is the relation of the government with the court rulings that have decided in favor of reinstituting those who were laid off this year?

The number of court rulings which reinstitute people who have been laid off from the administration this year is little for a very clear reason: Judicial procedure in all of its level takes time. Therefore, the majority of court rulings for public servants relate to the bad governance period of Berisha’s cabinet. Meanwhile, we are clear about our constitutional obligation of applying all court orders in relation to work relations. We’re fully committed to applying them. We’re working to assess the situation in every institution and we have also sought international assistance for complex situations, where sometimes, there are several people for the same job.

Will your ministry be well supported by the new 2015 budget?

Being a State minister, there’s no specific budget about the ministry that I lead. For this year, in order to encourage innovation and technology of information in all domains, it’s the first time that we will be allocated a centralized budget, which is almost double of last year’s budget for technology of information.

What do you see as the biggest projects and challenges of MIPA in 2015?

The ministry that I lead focuses on the development of two important sectors, such as innovation and public administration. In the domain of innovation, we have tens of projects, where the most important ones relate to cooperation with Google, the project to introduce tablets in schools, digitalization of a number of sectors and the interconnection of data bases.

Let us stop a little on cooperation with search engine, Google. What will you do concretely?

During 2015, several new services will be implemented in order to increase efficiency and online information. Thus, we will have Google Street for Albania, in order to promote tourism, Google Adsens in Albania which will bring extra revenues for online media. Ministry of Culture and 30 institutions are part of the “are going Google” network. There will also be the start of GDG-Google Development Group and other projects which are as innovative.

What about state administration?

The challenge for the state administration remains the growth of the standard of human resources in order to face with the EU negotiations and the improvement of the service offered to Albanian citizens. For the latter, during 2015, we will start a project for integrated public services, which is another important reform of our government and which will change how citizens obtain their services. /ibna/