EFOR has already published in 2021 an analysis on the implementation of the National Local Development Program (PNDL). We continue to research its implementation and status in March 2022. In this report we look at how the implementation of projects has progressed, what data is available and point out any measures taken to make the program transparent. We also aim to show why open data is needed, to be published in a timely manner and to represent the starting point for future public policy making.
Read the full report
The main conclusions:
- The government supplemented the budget for the Saligny Program by 15.5 billion lei on April 6, invoking the large number of requests received. Although the funds have been supplemented to date, we do not have a proper internal performance audit of PNDL, to understand what went well and what needs to be improved; according to information held by EFOR, there is no performance audit report available, except for the audit reports published by the Court of Accounts, which are rather critical. Moreover, some key issues related to the approval and implementation of the projects through the Saligny Program, criticised in the public space, remained unresolved.
- The timeframe when the Saligny Program and additional sums were approved seem to fall as a fatality in the periods when the PNL president is elected. This behavior illustrates how politicians use investment programs like aces up their sleeves to secure their support in the party.
- EFOR identified some differences between the 2021 and 2022 databases. As there is no single code attached to each project in the database, the comparison was based on the project name, which is not a good practice in data management. Although EFOR has long recommended that projects should have a number that would make it easier to track the project, there is no such data available
- In 2,651 cases we can talk about differences in the total value of the approved project budget existing in 2021 versus the one declared in 2022. Compared to 2021 there is an increase of over 2 billion lei. In some cases the difference is positive, i.e. more money was received, and in others negative. There are projects whose value has increased up to 15-20 times (for example from 130 thousand lei to 2.6 million), but also 17 projects that have had budget reductions of over 50%.
- The data provided by MDLPA on the stage of implementation contain discrepancies, the highest being for the number of projects completed in 2020, i.e. 1,421 according to data from 2022 versus 1,007 according to data from 2021. There are also several hundred projects with the implementation level of 100%, without knowing exactly in what year they were finalized.
- According to the available data, 84% of the total value from PNDL 1 was already settled, while 68% of the money was settled from stage 2. In total, 73% of the money was settled. In comparison, in 2021 83% of PNDL 1, 58% of PNDL 2 and 67% of the entire program were settled
- At the beginning of 2021, 5,989 projects were completed of a total of 11,753 projects. Another 3,000 were completed by more than 50%. In 2022, the number increased to 7,905 financially implemented projects over 90%, worth 23 billion RON, of which 6,838 are 100% completed, with a value of 19 billion RON; 338 projects were implemented between 1 and 10%, totalling allocations of 1.9 billion RON, the oldest being signed in March 2015; 1,247 projects are implemented between 1 and 50%, totalling allocations of 8.8 billion RON; 1,029 projects are implemented between 51 and 75%, totalling allocations of 6.3 billion RON.
- A number of 569 projects still have a 0% settlement status, amounting to 2.2 billion RON. Of these, 80 were signed in 2015 and 22 in 2016, totalling 430 million RON. In comparison, in 2021 we had a total number of 768 projects (excluding those signed in 2020) that had a zero settlement stage, of which 403 projects had allocations below one million lei. These data show that there are still a large number of projects signed for more than six years that do not seem to have started from the financial point of view. Of these projects for which there are no financial statements, 78% are found in communes and 6% in county councils.
- A number of 37 localities remained at zero degree of implementation. Although most have only one project, Covasna and Micasa (SB) have three projects each. Sector 5 has four projects worth 20 million RON, signed in 2018-2019, in which no financial statement was made.
- There are seven contracts with values of and over 50 million RON, for which no money was settled, amounting to 525 million RON. The largest project from which no settlement was made is “Rehabilitation of DJ 209B of CJ Suceava”, with a value of 100 million RON, increased from 46 million RON in 2021 – although we have a project from which nothing was settled, was increased by 54 million.
- If we report the number of approved projects and those financially implemented over 90%, the best ranked counties are Vâlcea, Buzău, Bistrița Năsăud and Dâmbovița, and the lowest rates are in Caraș Severin and Brașov.
- Most of the projects from which no money was settled can be found at Cernica-IF (25 out of 29), Neamț County Council (11 out of 63), Sector 2 (13 out of 15), Sector 4 (9 out of 25) and Botoșani Municipality. (10 of 23).
Conclusions and proposals
- Quite a few projects are still in the implementation stage, and for some we don’t even know if the works have started. This raises the question of whether several thousand other projects funded in Saligny can be implemented, given that we have projects started in 2015 that have not yet been finalized from the financial point of view.
- The deadlines for finalising the PNDL programs have been extended, which may illustrate the lack of a realistic vision of the capacity and resources needed to complete these programs.
- EFOR’s findings overlap with those of the Court of Auditors in 2020, when the institution notes that there are no performance indicators; the large number of projects for which no settlement is requested, which illustrates the misuse of public funds by keeping them reserved and blocked; lack of control and indiscipline in the implementation of the program
- EFOR has promoted a number of proposals for transparency in the new Open Government Partnership Action Plan 2022-2024. The debate on these proposals scheduled for 13 April has been postponed since the publication of this report
Report published within a project funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), implemented by the Expert Forum in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and CEELI Institute.