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Revision of the Municipal Performance System and Grant: Challenges and opportunities for municipalities

The Ministry of Local Government Administration (MLGA) and DEMOS are working on the revision of the Municipal Performance Management System and the Municipal Performance Grant, with the aim of meeting the needs of municipalities and citizens. To discuss issues related to the System and the Grant, MLGA and DEMOS organized a two-day workshop with mayors, vice mayors and senior officials of the municipalities, where the donors of the project, namely Switzerland and Sweden as well as the National Audit Office, also participated.

The main topics that prompted discussions were the minimum conditions for the Municipal Performance Grant, the indicators of the Municipal Performance Management System, as well as the procedures for the implementation of municipal projects.

Imri Ahmeti, Vice President of the Association of Kosovo Municipalities, mentioned the challenges related to the fulfilment of the minimum conditions for qualification for the Municipal Performance Grant, in particular the positive opinion of the audit, as well as spending at least 75% of the budget for capital investments.

“The reason is that even the auditor’s opinion sometimes has nothing to do with the mayor’s responsibilities, probably because of the private enforcement agents, because of the collective contracts for which the municipalities are not signatory parties to the agreement, but the Ministries are, this opinion is penalizing municipalities. The same occurs with budget spending. We often do not receive the budget allocation until the end of March, let’s not even talk about a case context that we might have in the Procurement Review Body. And then autumn comes and we are still unable to spend the budget”, Mr Ahmeti said.

The municipalities deemed it important to not assess, during the process of revising the Municipal Performance Management System, the indicators for which municipalities have no responsibility, such as water management.

The Municipal Performance Management System was established by MLGA in 2009, as a mechanism aimed at increasing municipal performance in the provision of administrative and public services. The DEMOS project has supported the system since 2014, while continuously contributing to its improvement through the review of fields, indicators, reporting and data verification. This mechanism is now composed of 119 performance indicators grouped in 19 fields.

Besim Myrtezani, Director of the Legal Department at MLGA, says that this system has now created a tradition and history of operation, however, from discussions with mayors, vice mayors and senior municipal officials, ongoing and generally reasonable difficulties were observed.

“We, as the Ministry, will take all these details that have been discussed as a basis and, together with the donors, we will endeavour to make the improvements where possible, while not damaging the System in general. These were very qualitative and substantive discussions regarding the future of this system. Considering that the main actors were present in the meeting, I estimate that the workshop was quite successful for us as the Ministry and for DEMOS as well”, Mr Myrtezani said.

“We are now in the process of evaluating the data for 2022, while for 2023, the performance evaluation will find us with a changed and more advanced system,” he added.

The DEMOS project, which is supporting the MLGA in revising the System and the Grant, has welcomed the discussions, ideas and suggestions given during the workshop. “While we are working on this process, these discussions will greatly help us to advance the System, with indicators that are focused on the impact on citizens”, Alan Packer, the Director of the DEMOS project, stated.

During the workshop with mayors, vice mayors and senior municipal officials, the participants had the opportunity to exchange experiences about municipal performance in Albania. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy in Albania and the project “Strong Municipalities” implemented by Helvetas, explained about the reform that is being done to improve services for citizens in the country’s 61 municipalities. Albania is currently in the process of preparing the Municipal Performance Management System and Kosovo’s long experience with this system has been evaluated as very useful.

The DEMOS project is in the third phase of implementation and by the end of this implementation, which is in December 2025, aims for the management of the Municipal Performance Grant to be done independently and fully credibly by MLGA. In this regard, the project is helping in the further advancement of the System and the Grant, and parallelly, also in strengthening the capacities of the Ministry and the municipalities for the management of this grant.

In the last two years alone, thanks to the Municipal Performance Grant, municipalities have benefited from projects worth nearly 16 million euros, of which nearly 9.2 million euros have been provided from the funds of the DEMOS III project.

DEMOS III is co-financed by the EU, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, while it is implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Kosovo.

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