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Macedonian Mystery Over Bureaucracy’s Size Unsolved

April 6, 2012

Macedonia’s new central register of public servants has failed to answer the question of how many state bureaucrats actually work in the country.

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 05.04.2012
Size of Macedonian Bureaucracy Stays Mystery

The new register lists 25,500 public administration workers in 161 offices.

But bureaucrats in the public health sector and culture as well as in municipal offices and companies were excluded.

The Ministry of Administration also excluded 742 public institutions that were initially planned for inclusion.

The ministry took this step after in mid-February the Constitutional Court decided that the above mentioned employees should not be called public servants.

“We must strictly follow the Constitutional Court’s decision”, one source from the ministry told Balkan Insight.

The register, whose release has been delayed several times since last year, was supposed to put an end to a decade of confusion about the number of people working in the state administration.

Institutions and officials have continued to give very different figures. In October 2011, the Minister of Administration, Ivo Ivanovski, said the country had 115,000 civil servants. But Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski in November gave a figure of 90,000.

To add to the confusion, Stavreski’s predecessor, Fatmir Besimi, spoke of some 180,000 public servants, shortly before stepping down after the June 2011 general elections to become Defence Minister.

Most observers agree the country’s administration is too large and cumbersome. Each government, instead of cutting red tape, has added to the total number of bureaucrats by employing party members.

Dragan Tevdovski, economic analyst and professor at Skopje’s Faculty of Economy, says the government remains secretive about the issue.

“Despite various inquiries we still do not know many employees they have taken on in the last few years,” he said.

Despite the small number of servants on paper, the cost of their red tape is dear. In last year’s strate budget of €2.5 billion, over €400 million went on wages for public servants.

The European Commission in its annual reports on the country also mentions cumbersome administration as a shortcoming.

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