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Investigative reporting support to hold government accountable

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Skopje, 6 April, 2016 – The Center for Civil Communications in partnership with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and NGO Info-centre has started three-year implementation of the EU funded project “Investigative reporting to boost reforms”. The Project will create a core of well skilled investigative journalists, as well as a network of grass-root CSOs from all over the country which should contribute towards improved investigative journalism both through their work and through the cooperation with journalists.

Project activities will be determined to change the current situation where the media in the country fail to play a pivotal watching role, i.e. expose and analyse issues of public interests and hold public officials to accountability. In such circumstances of deteriorating situation in the media combined with understaffed news teams and limited resources there is an apparent lack of investigative journalism, one of the most powerful tools for holding government accountable.

Project aims to increased quality and credibility of investigative journalism, and creation of CSOs’ open databases serving as resource for investigative journalism and their own activities. Project activities envisage intensive training program on investigative journalism on government’s accountability, mentorship and coaching of investigative journalists, award competition for investigative stories, study visits, public debates, sub-granting, training and mentoring of local CSOs in preparation of open data bases for important social issues, and a creation of informal network of CSOs and journalists.

Total budget of the project is 294,812 EUR, while the EU contribution is 265,331 EUR.

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INDEX OF RATIONALITY 14

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Planned e-auctions that are later not implemented result in the highest prices

SKOPJE, 21 March, 2016 – Today, the Center for Civil Communications published the Index of Rationality No. 14 developed for a new group of products: metal archive cabinets, coal, school chairs and occupational rubber boots. The biggest difference in prices was observed in the case of coal, while the smallest difference in prices was noted for procurement of occupational rubber boots. In summary, the Index of Rationality provides the following conclusions:

  • metal archive cabinets were priced in the range from 6,476 MKD to 14,293 MKD per cabinet, where the highest price is by 121% higher than the lowest price;
  • coal had been purchased at prices ranging from 1,652 MKD to 4,720 MKD per ton, where the highest price is by 186% higher than the lowest price;
  • school chairs with standard dimensions were purchased at prices ranging from 505 MKD to 1,062 MKD, which means that the highest price is by 110% higher than the lowest price; and
  • occupational rubber boots (knee-high) were purchased by utility enterprises at prices from 400 MKD to 728 MKD per pair of boots, where the highest price for this type of goods is by 82% higher than the lowest price.

Attempts to develop the index of rationality for services related to cleaning of river basins could not be realized due to the inability to identify common unit that would serve as basis for comparing costs/prices for this type of services.

This Report is available here. For more information, please contact the Center for Civil Communications on tel. (02) 3213-513 or by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

USAID Civil Society Project is implemented by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) in partnership with the Centre for Civil Communications, the Youth Educational Forum, Reactor – Research in Action, and Forum – Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation.

NOTE TO THE EDITORS:

The American people, through USAID, have invested over $500 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID works with the people of Macedonia to create jobs, strengthen democratic institutions and practices, enhance integrated education, and prepare students for the workforce. These initiatives improve the quality of life and support Macedonia’s transition to a stable and prosperous democracy. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries. For more information please visit USAID Macedonia Website and USAID Macedonia Facebook page.

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Continued Decline of Already Low Competition in Local Tender Procedures

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SKOPJE, December 31, 2015 – Today, the Centre for Civil Communications published the results from its regular monitoring of public procurements implemented by local authorities for the period October 2014 – March 2015. Key findings include:

-          Low competition in local tender procedures continues to decline despite the series of law amendments adopted in this period and aimed to turn around such tendencies, thereby increasing the number of participants in public procurement procedures. In average, public procurements from the monitoring sample were marked by participation of 2.4 bidding companies, while as high as 57% of tender procedures monitored were not presented with a single bid or were presented with only one bid.

-          Although they are law-mandated for all tender procedures, e-auctions were organized in only 53% of monitored procurement procedures. Low competition in tender procedures and “lowest price” defined as the single criterion for contract awarding would continue to deepen the problem related to non-organization of electronic auctions, envisaged as means for reduction of initially bided prices.

-          The number of annulled tender procedures in the monitoring sample maintained its high share of 20% and was marked by an increase compared to tendencies observed in the past one to two years, when it amounted to around 15%. The main reason indicated for tender annulment remains the statement that bidding companies have offered prices that are more unfavourable than those anticipated or planned by the contracting authority.

-          Inadequacy of “lowest price” defined as the only contract-awarding criterion is the biggest problem faced by companies participating in tender procedures organized and implemented on local level. More than half of companies surveyed are also facing the problem of late payment for public procurement contract performance.

This Report is available here. For more information, please contact the Centre for Civil Communications on tel. (02) 3213-513 or by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

USAID Civil Society Project is implemented by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) in partnership with the Centre for Civil Communications, the Youth Educational Forum, Reactor – Research in Action, and Forum – Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation.

NOTE TO THE EDITORS:

The American people, through USAID, have invested over $500 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID works with the people of Macedonia to create jobs, strengthen democratic institutions and practices, enhance integrated education, and prepare students for the workforce. These initiatives improve the quality of life and support Macedonia’s transition to a stable and prosperous democracy. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries. For more information please visit USAID Macedonia Website and USAID Macedonia Facebook page.