Bosnia and Herzegovina has a commission for concessions – or not? It has – because it was founded in 2005. And it doesn’t – because it has never given a single concession agreement. In that period, its members cost the state almost 20 million BAM. The last report of the Office for the Audit of the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina pointed to the fact that the mandates of the members of this commission have expired. And there are pensioners among the members. And so, while the state parliamentarians are asking for the appointment of new members or the abolition of the commission, an announcement is coming that a competition procedure for filling the members should soon be prescribed.
We have a commission for concessions at the state level. We do not have the results of the work. They are currently half-formed, although the legitimacy of those participating in the work is also questionable due to the expiration of their mandate. Only in all the years of existence of this commission were there no questionable salaries, earned without a single concession agreement issued. They cost the citizens 11 million marks from 2013 until today. According to announcements, they will try to put an end to that.
“The Council of Ministers tasked the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina to initiate a competitive procedure for the selection of seven members of the Commission for Concessions,” said Borjana Krišto, chairperson of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH).
“At the moment, there is not a single representative from the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the parliamentary commission. The Commission for Concessions of Bosnia and Herzegovina currently has four members out of seven – as many as should be by law, while the mandates of the existing members have expired long ago”, stated Denis Zvizdić, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
BiH Minister of Trade and Economic Relations Staša Košarac (SNSD) assures that the tender procedure will be carried out, although he does not consider the work of the Commission to be justified.
“First of all, I think that the Commission for Concessions of Bosnia and Herzegovina should not exist. Another thing, I respect the existing law and the conclusions of the Council of Ministers, my colleagues are working together with me to design the new format of the Commission and to propose it to the Council of Ministers, and we will do it,” said Košarac.
Without the appointment of new members, the Commission is blocked, that is why it is a condition of all conditions, and then the existence of political will for its smooth operation. The auditors also pointed out this problem in their report:
“The current composition of the Commission does not reflect the territorial representation of the Commission’s members provided for by the aforementioned law, so that the Commission’s functioning is also impossible in this respect.”
According to the data of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, the work of this commission without adopted decisions costs a lot. In addition to their regular income, four employees also receive compensation for living separately.
“Commission for concessions – 12 workers/associates. Total income for the period from January 1, 2023 to October 31, 2023 – 322,893.91 BAM”, according to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We have an incomplete composition, some of them have expired and have not been filled with other members of the Commission, so far they have not awarded any concession, the question really arises what is the purpose of their existence”, asks Siniša Vukelić, editor-in-chief of the Capital portal.
If all members of the Commission are appointed, the question is in which direction its work will be and in whose interest it will be. The stumbling block is the allocation of resources for the Buk Bijela hydroelectric power plant construction project.
“There are lobbies, political influences, influences from different levels, and there is always an interest in the background. We know what resources are, not only water but also energy, infrastructure, etc.,” says Mirko Šarović, former Minister of Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The position of the expert on state property is clear – entities can conclude interstate contracts only if they receive the consent of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That did not happen in this case.
“Given that the political agenda of the RS is the absence of state property, she obstructed the filling of the state commission for concessions all the time – even during the mandate of chairman Tegeltija, with the relevant minister in the specific case, Staša Košarc. The right of joint use and reference to the right of concluded special parallel relations cannot be consumed on hydro potential and the use of natural resources”, states expert for state property Muharem Cero.
Apart from the hydro potential, the Buk Bijela project is also significant because of about 80,000 hectares of forest land. Cero warns that the Buk Bijela project is a test for obtaining entity sovereignty, which leads to the creation of an environment for the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The inactivity of the Commission for Concessions and the blocking of its work are confirmation of the intention in that direction.