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Dobrich Tops Bulgaria's 2012 Transparency Rating.

Financial transparency of both central and local administrative structures of the executive power tripled in 2012 but still remains below 50%, according to data of the Access to Information Programme (AIP).

At the same time, only 2% of the administrative structures in the executive made public contracts they signed.

Although institutions grew a little more transparent, the information on their websites remained poorly arranged and hard to access.

These are some of the conclusions contained in the 2012 Active Transparency Rating and the Public Registers Portal in Bulgaria surveys conducted by the AIP.

The AIP presented the results of the two surveys at a press conference on April 4.

Within the period 23.01 a 16.03, 2012, the AIP audited 474 websites of 487 administrative structures of the executive power at a central, regional, and local level.

The level of transparency was assessed on the base of 39 or 40 (for the municipalities) indicators. The maximum score is 60.5.

The AIP also filed 486 access to information requests within the audit and used the feedback to verify the data collected in the Portal Public Registers in Bulgaria.

"The biggest number of points is awarded for the publication of information that is most essential for citizens, for instance the legal statute of the institution, its functions and powers, the registers it maintains, etc," said Gergana Zhuleva, executive director of the AIP.

According to the AIP, financial accountability for activities of state institutions increased to 34.60%, compared to 13.54% in the year before.

56% of the central administrative bodies and 76% of municipalities failed to publish financial reports.

Budget accountability follows a similar pattern, given that 47.74% of the audited institutions published their budget, compared to 16.16% in the year before.

The AIP was very often confronted with a lack of information about contracts signed by public bodies.

Contracts were published in a mere 1.9% of the cases, the share remaining relatively constant throughout the years.

6% of the central administrative bodies published contracts they signed, compared to 2% of municipalities and 0% of regional units.

53.2% of the audited websites contained no register of public procurement notices, while in 90.7% of the cases there was no data about the sealed public procurement contracts.

The northeastern Dobrich municipality topped the 2012 active transparency rating with 52 points out of a maximum of 60.5.

Second and third place in the ranking went to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education, respectively.

Seven institutions scored zero points, meaning that they had no websites.

The public bodies without websites included four municipalities - Bregovo, Gramada, Makresh and Boynitsa- as well as three regional health inspectorates - in Haskovo, Blagoevgrad and Shumen.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Interior was the central administrative structure of the executive with the lowest transparency score, 22.3%.

The Interior had no section devoted to access to information on its website and had failed to publish data about the contracts it signed.

However, the website of the Interior contained a financial report for 2011 and a budget report for 2012.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Apr 5, 2012
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