Published on : 14 July 2017

An efficient and responsible public administration at the service of citizens

Prime Minister Edi Rama's speech in a public hearing with citizens in Durres:

 

I believe that nowadays, thanks also to new information technology, the ability to be connected in real time on online platforms, it is quite possible for us to make a real coalition with average people. It won’t be a formal registration, but rather a real registration and, therefore, every member of the coalition, every citizen who wants to be a member of this coalition will be in a direct relationship with the government and will be able to be informed in real-time about decision-making, projects, participate directly in the government's internal discussions in order to give their opinion and become spokesmen, not only of themselves or of their families, but also of the community they represent, when something unacceptable happens to them, or something that is unpleasant in relation to the state occurs.

There is one thing we should turn into our main goal, and this is have state offices respect the people regardless of whether a complaint is fair or unfair, a problem is solvable or unsolvable. Every citizen seeking an answer from the state, should receive the answer in due time. Otherwise, there is no room in the state for those who do not give the answer.

I’m also amused by the totally disproportionate reactions I’ve seen on my Facebook page, to a report on the comments of people on individuals who represent the state in various sectors, and with regard to whom many people have expressed their dissatisfaction. “There is no “black list” of any kind. It is only a report of comments for those who are interested to read the report of comments, and who are part of my Facebook friends’ network. And those who see this as a new method and as the instrument that we are to put into motion to create a climate of pressure, a climate of terror, have understood and seen nothing yet. This is not what we’ll do. We won’t use any unsubstantiated or ungrounded dissatisfaction or complaint, to do a disservice to anybody. Everything will be done legally, democratically, transparently, and the mechanism is being built. It is not a matter of Facebook. It is not a matter of digital citizens. It is not a matter of digital denunciation posters. It is a totally different matter, structured in every detail, and those who have made a fuss claiming that they have noticed a great violation of the human rights, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. These are just comments people have made. They were all there, and they have been simply summarized together with many other aspects of a report on those who have contributed with their comments. That’s all.

The mechanism we are going to build will be very structured. The platform of co-governance that we are preparing, where every member of this coalition will have access to the co-governance through online connectivity, will not just be a site where people let off steam and complain, but they will have a whole army of people who will carry out all the verifying work, all the confrontational work, all the legal arguing work, all the work it takes to take where they belong, all those officials, of any level they are, who will dare to behave as a lout with the average people and with their problems. Not only when they ask for bribes, for which they must be sent to jail, but even when they don’t know how to say “good morning”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome” or “good bye”. This is only one aspect.

These hearings are neither formal nor to waste time, but they’re necessary because we want to open a new page, and this co-governance I’m talking about is not easy at all, and cannot be done only in words. In these hearings we take notes, get all the necessary information in order to understand better, not to hear about what we don’t know, but to understand better what the main priorities should be because we cannot do everything, just like in any house. Each of us has a home, a family, desires, ambitions, dreams, but they are accomplished based on the opportunities. Opportunities grow based on the ability to set priorities and to plan the steps to follow.

In parallel with these hearings, we have two other groups: a group that is working to identify all licenses, documents, unnecessary certificates that are a ton, and to make a drastic cutback of the bureaucracy chain that has bound the hands and feet of the people who want to get a service. There are services that require over 20 documents. Endless notarizations. Why should somebody have the disability documents notarized every three or six months? Incomprehensible things! And there are plenty of them. We will make a drastic cut to ease bureaucracy. At the same time, we will work to accomplish what seems impossible within the next mandate. It is entirely possible to ask for a number of documents, when they are necessary, but if these documents are issued by the state, average people should not be told "go and get it." They must be made available by the state in the counter providing the service. People only have to submit personal documents, for instance when they are required to submit a document from the bank, from an activity they’ve run abroad, or a certification from their employment place in the private sector, but not documents which the state produces.  

The other working group is making drastic reductions of the offices of institutions, agencies and extra inspectorates, which are a great cost because wages are paid to all sorts of parasites and individuals who are there as a result of the benefits from the power pie-pan, and not as a result of the state's need. On the other hand, we will significantly reduce the financial costs and the moral costs that this kind of structures cause to people.

We’re preparing all these in order to be ready in the beginning of September, at least with the big blocks, because these are reforms that require a lot of work. Starting with the new government, which I believe should be smaller, more efficient, and should have the capacity to guarantee the co-governance with the people. There shouldn’t be any longer ministries and agencies that don’t even bother to read, let alone reply to the letters and complaints of people.  

The whole structure of communication with the people will be a new and very powerful structure to verify every complaint and to answer every request. If someone goes to the mortgage office to get the property certificate, and he cannot get it, and it turns out that the failure to get the document is groundless, then the person responsible for the delay can no longer work in the state and cannot approach the state.

We will work to make a law that will prevent those who leave the civil service because they neglect people, from coming back to the civil service for a 10-year period. So we can finally work as a real shared house. Reasonable people, whether socialists or democrats, or whatever party they are, don’t find it hard to understand when we tell them: this is all we can do. They find it hard when they are told that things must be done in order, and some have to wait their turn, while others don’t have to wait at all.

We will face a lot of resistance, many reactions because we will undertake to do what has not been done so far, take down the wall of the castle of privileges where a very small part of Albania lives, in those political, media, financial hamlets of its. Of course, in this mission we have also the votes, and this is good. But in addition to the votes, we need also the support of the people because all the swarm of that castle of privileges will get together to defend their interests about which they don’t talk. They all talk in the name of the people, ranging from those of the media bin to those of the political bin, to those who are already up against the wall because the Vetting has begun and it will give concrete results very soon. They will unite even more than they have done in determined moments, and it won’t be a union of “some in the tent, some others with the tent but outside it”, but it will be a strong union of interests. It’s really crazy seeing who is complaining about the elections, the oligarchy, about vote alienation. Those who look at this castle from outside, believe it very often, but we who look at it from within, we know who is who, and I’m really telling you that this is crazy.   

I’m convinced that what we’ve said will be done. In these 4 years we’ll do for Durres 4 times more of what we have done for Durres, Shijak, Kruje and the whole region in the last 4 years of our first term.

I’m convinced that since we have now a very good basis within the city, and 2 or 3 other important works, in addition to the Veliera and to the new public space with the new public building on the other side, we will be able to extend even deeper in the municipalities, administrative units, and deal very seriously with the further development of agro-tourism, taking into account also some very positive examples which entrepreneurs have created in this region.    

We very much need to have as many members in our coalition. It is a coalition with the average people who want to be part of this endeavour, not a network of friends on Facebook where everybody has access, but a coalition with members registered in the platform of go-governance we are preparing and which will be ready the moment the new government is ready. We’ll have some events, some ongoing efforts in order to make clear to people that this is very serious and that we are very serious, and that every member of this coalition will receive in real time the government decisions, the draft laws, in his or her computer or smartphone, connected to the platform whether in Albania or abroad, and will access it by means of a code, in order to communicate directly with senior officials, and even with cabinet members, and address their concerns or make suggestions.   

In addition, the platform will give the opportunity to all those involved in the co-governance, to make known their initiatives. They might have individual initiatives for the community, for the schools, for the universities, for anything which need to be supported, and of course we will maximally support these civic initiatives that will be a reflection of co-governance in the community.

***

With regard to the legalization issue, it is true that we have done a lot but we haven’t done everything. Everybody must understand that we couldn’t do what was not done in so many years, but the process will continue until the last house is legalized, in conformity with the law, because there are also cases on cultural monuments or important collectors that cannot be legalized. We will strengthen a lot this side of the state because we have begun to unite all the property-related agencies in order to reduce the steps. There will be only one National Agency on the property titles, on the public property, on the private property, and that Agency will respond to citizens, so no more stories. There are 40 thousand families that have received the legalization permits but don’t have the ownership certificates, and no answer either. This will be addressed properly.

The trust bestowed upon us is connected to what people expect. On the other hand, even my insistence and our efforts to tell people that the moment has come to do this together, by building a real coalition and by making those who want to be involved, members of this coalition.

We will do this, and in this way those who are paid to serve citizens will have a greater sense of responsibility. If we have this connection, and if we guarantee this co-governance, they will be standing at the door and even ask “is there anybody who needs any service from me, for I’m here”.

Of course, it will be difficult, and of course it won’t happen immediately. But we’ve been chosen for this. What I understand clearly is that we have been chosen to carry out this task. It’s not that we have been given the champions cup, and we must show off. Quite the contrary. We have been assigned a very difficult task, while the others have been assigned the task to do the opposition. It’s up to them how they do the opposition. We really don’t have time to waste by dealing with the opposition, whichever it is. The opposition has its own task, has a scheduled day in parliament, and we’ll confront on that day. But our opposition is the problems we have inherited, every individual who is paid by the state to serve the people, and doesn’t provide the service. They are the real opponents on our path to making statehood.

Many thanks!

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