Nezavisne novine: SARAJEVO – Second phase of the Governance Accountability Project (GAP), 30 million dollars worth, was started yesterday by official accession of 15 more BH municipalities to this programme, whose goal is strengthening of the local community.

The GAP Programme will last until 2012, and it is financed by the American agency for international development (USAID), the Swedish agency for international development and cooperation (SIDA), and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“The goal of the programme is to help the municipalities in becoming more efficient and more accountable”, said yesterday Lars-Erik Vingren, the ambassador of Sweden in BiH, at the conference of the mayors of the partner municipalities of the GAP project.

As it was pointed out at the conference, the project implies the assistance in realization of capital projects, offer of more quality services to citizens, and drafting of legislation, and it included in total 56 municipalities in BiH, i.e. 41 municipalities which participated in this project from 2004 until 2007, and 15 new municipalities.

Karel Voskuler, Ambassador of the Netherlands in BiH, said that on the local level important decisions are made, which influence the lives of citizens, and that they want to help in making accountable governments.

Ambassador of the USA in BiH, Charles English pointed out that the first phase of the project helped in improving local administration, the governments became better in providing services, and financial systems became more transparent.

“But local communities still face expensive administration system. The municipality alone should work as an efficient organization. The policy in relation to fiscal matters is equally important. There are enough frustrations because of behavior of entities and cantons toward local community. That has to be changed”, said English.

He said that through the GAP they continue to provide support to building efficient bodies of self-government, and that BiH has no alternative, “but to expediently go toward Europe”.

Krsmanović: They should be stopped to steal from us

Zdravko Krsmanović, the mayor of the Municipality of Foča, said that the value of the project is not in the money, but in receiving support for the right way.

“Local communities only want to offer services which citizens want. Around 90 per cent of the needs are solved on the level of municipalities, and we receive nine per cent of the assets. Of the second phase of the project we expect that we are stopped to be stolen from”, added Krsmanović.