16 December 2021 56th Sitting of the Committee on Finance State Budget and Control of Public Spending

16 December 2021 56th Sitting of the Committee on Finance State Budget and Control of Public Spending

Friday, 17 December 2021

56th Sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending

At the sitting held on 16 and 17 December 2021, outside of the National Assembly seat, in Vranje, the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending was presented the Audit Report on the Consolidated Financial Reports of the Final Account of the Municipality of Vranje 2018 Budget and the Audit Report on the 2018 Financial Report of Novi Dom Vranje Heating and Apartment and Office Building Maintenance Public Enterprise.


In addition to the Committee members, the sitting was also attended by Mayor of Vranje Dr Slobodan Milenkovic with City representatives and associates, President of the Council of the State Audit Institution (DRI) Dr Dusko Pejovic and associates, as well as representatives of Transparency Serbia NGO and UNDP.

Opening the sitting, Committee Chairperson Dr Aleksandra Tomic pointed out that in this way the Committee fulfils its obligations under the Government's Public Financial Management Reform Programme - reviewing the DRI’s audits of individual public finance beneficiaries.

Mayor of Vranje Dr Slobodan Milenkovic said that the City of Vranje is committed to strengthening internal controls and educating employees so as to avoid any mistakes when applying regulations. Milenkovic emphasised that the turning point was the arrival of auditors in 2017, at the beginning of the current administration’s mandate, when the audits for 2016 and reports unearthed serious irregularities in the work of almost all budget beneficiaries, adding that the end result was a negative opinion on the consolidated financial reports of the City of Vranje for that year. The city also had a large public debt and was on the verge of bankruptcy, he said. Afterwards, financial discipline was raised to a higher level and thanks to the support of the President of the Republic and the Government of Serbia, the city's debt was reduced and capital investments intensified, stressed Dr Milenkovic.

The Audit Report on the Consolidated Financial Reports of the Final Account of the Municipality of Vranje 2018 Budget was presented by DRI Council President Dr Dusko Pejovic who said that the last audit in Vranje was performed on 10 June 2019 for 2018, resulting in a qualified opinion (with reservation), which is an improvement compared with the previous revision which resulted in a negative opinion. The 2018 audit yielded a budget deficit in the amount of 164 million RSD.

The previous revision had noted 41 irregularities i.e. recommendations, 17 of which were eliminated in the audit procedure, while the remaining 24 were given a deadline for elimination, and only three remained uncorrected/partially corrected.

He said that a total of 23 audits were performed in 2021, 20 of which were considered by local self-government assemblies and added that local self-government councillors had viewed 91% the State Audit Institution’s reports.

Pejovic then went on to present the Audit Report on the 2018 Financial Report of Novi Dom Vranje Heating and Apartment and Office Building Maintenance Public Enterprise, saying that the final account had been submitted within legal deadlines. The State Audit Institution gave a qualified opinion and pointed out the irregularities observed in the company, among other things no management strategy for current assets or internal act on warehousing, as well as other irregularities were pointed out.

The Committee went on to grant consent to the State Audit Institution 2022 Financial Plan Proposal with projections for 2023 and 2024, which was also presented by Dr Dusko Pejovic.

The representatives of the State Audit Institution and the Ministry of Finance then presented the initiatives to amend and modify regulations to the Committee members, based on the findings and recommendations of the 2020 audit reports.

Dr Pejovic said that the Law on the State Audit Institution states that, in addition to its competencies, the State Audit Institution also has the authority to make recommendations for amendments to existing laws, based on information obtained during the audits and noted irregularities which produce or may produce negative consequences or results.

In the continuation of the sitting, on 17 December, the Director of the Tobacco Administration Slobodan Erdeljan presented the activity results of Tobacco Administration at the Ministry of Finance. Erdeljan said that the Tobacco Administration has 34 employees, adding that, realising activities within its competence, the Administration had issued 11,113 licences for retail trade in tobacco products and registered 176 new brands of tobacco products.

The income for the budget realised from collected republic administrative fees and fees for the production and trade in tobacco average at 1,500,000.00 EUR annually.

Erdeljan said that, operating on the market of tobacco and tobacco products of the Republic of Serbia today, there are four factories of tobacco products, 11 wholesalers and 19,950 retailers.

Jelica Cirovic, Assistant Director of the Tobacco Administration, also took part in the sitting, saying that in 2018 and 2019 the Tobacco Administration was responsible for drafting the Law amending and modifying the Law on Tobacco, adopted by the National Assembly in December 2019.

The Law amending and modifying the Law on Tobacco aims, among other things, to suppress the grey economy and illegal trade in tobacco and tobacco products, said Cirovic.

After the sitting, the Committee members visited the British American Tobacco factory, toured the facilities and had a meeting with the management.

The Committee sitting outside of the National Assembly seat was supported by project “Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy and Inclusive Political Dialogue”, conducted by UNDP with the support of Switzerland.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairperson Dr Aleksandra Tomic and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Veroljub Arsic, Zoran Bojanic, Nikola Jolovic, Olivera Pesic, Bratimir Vasiljevic, Snezana Petrovic, Vojislav Vujic, Dr Muamer Bacevac and Dr Boban Birmancevic.

The sitting was also attended by MPs Nenad Krstic, Slavisa Bulatovic, Milan Ilic and Nevenka Kostadinova.

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thursday, 1 december
  • 9.45 - press conference of MP Usame Zukorlic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

  • 10.30 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with a delegation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)

  • 10.30 - press conference of the GREEN – LEFT CLUB, DON’T LET BELGRADE D(R)OWN, WE HAVE TO Parliamentary Group (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

  • 11.10 - the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee meet with the delegation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 12.00 - sitting of the Culture and Information Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)

  • 12.00 - press conference of MPs Slavica Radovanovic, Sanda Raskovic Ivic, Tatjana Manojlovic, Radmila Vasic and Jelena Kalajdzic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)

  • 13.00 - sitting of the Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate and Immunity Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

  • 13.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Swedish Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)

  • 14.00 - sitting of the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

  • 18.30 - representatives of opposition parliamentary groups meet with the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

Full event calendar