Real co-governance with ordinary people

Weekly meeting at the Maps Hall at the Prime Minister’s office, with common citizens sharing their accounts on how through the help from the online platform Albania We Want have solved various personal and community problems:

Prime Minister Edi Rama: You are attending this meeting upon an invitation from the co-governance platform team and I want first to emphasize what I won’t ever get tired reiterating, and that is the fact that your participation in every Wednesday’s meeting is a significant contribution provided by ordinary citizens. By sharing your experience with the platform and by demonstrating how you addressed the platform and how your problems were tackled would convey to others the aspect that neither my speeches, nor official information would fully highlight and reveal the platform’s absolute credibility and integrity.

Every week, we see an ever growing intensive interaction between the ordinary citizens and the government through the platform. Every week we see the government officials committed addressing the problems of the people from all over the country, including citizens living and working abroad, who with just a click can instantly communicate with the government.

Just like in the previous meetings, a number of cases and testimonies will help us today to convey again and again the message that anyone who faces a problem, whoever has a matter to address, whoever fails in his efforts to earn what they deserve and receives no answer from the state offices, it takes just a registration procedure on the “Albania We Want” platform at every local government administrative unit, at the nearest post office and the co-governance with citizens offices to file their complaints, concerns and request and an official reply will be sent to them within 10-day official deadline.

I would invite Flamur to introduce the first case for today.

Flamur, coordinator of the co-governance office: I am here today to introduce the case concerning a citizen from the city of Vlora called Bajram Canaj, who had applied with the regional office of the Immovable Property Registration in past December to register the legalization permit, but no response had been provided to him for more than ten months, despite his continued efforts. Realizing the long delay, he decided to address the Platform and filed his request on 17th of October 2018 and the due property certificate was issued within ten days.

Mr. Bajram Canaj: Thank you for inviting us to join you today. I had applied with the Immovable Property Registration Office in Vlora to register my property and receive the due certificate. I had already paid the fee, but no certificate was provided, whereas my brother, next to my house, was supplied the document more than a year ago. I had a meeting with the head of the local registration office, who told me that I couldn’t be provided with the property certificate as my house plan had been drawn wrongfully. Three directors of the regional office have been appointed and removed from the post over a one-year span and none of them provided an answer. On October 17, I accessed the Platform and Mr. Flamur provided a reply within ten days. Then I received a call from the Property Registration Office, telling that my problem had been tackled. But why do they fail to address such matters right where they should? Why should everyone convey such a minor problem to the co-governance office and to the Prime Minister? I think this is absurd. I want to invite every citizen to file their concerns with the Platform as they will definitely have their problems solved. Thank you!

PM Edi Rama: Thank you very much dear Bajram and I am pleased that your problem has been fully addressed. It is crucially important that more and more citizens access the Platform in order to exert a growing pressure on the public administration so that the public administration employees become fully aware that every ordinary citizen can make them end in trouble, because what has happened after Mr. Bajram was granted the property ownership certificate is that an administrative investigation has been launched to determine those responsible and administrative disciplinary actions are taken and charges are raised against any individual when corrupt practices are discovered.

Katerina, coordinator of the co-governance office: Mr Armand Rakipi addressed the platform after having had filed a self-declaration form with the Tirana Directorate of the Agency for the Legalization, Urbanization and Integration of Informal Zones and Buildings (ALUIZNI) back in 2006. ALUIZNI teams have taken continuous measurements of Mr. Rakipi’s house as part of the legalization procedures, but no legalization permit was issued. Finally, Mr. Rakipi found the solution after filing a complaint with the Platform. An official response was provided regarding the issuance of the legalization permit and the follow-up of the practice for registration with the Local Registration Office of Tirana within six days.

Mr. Armand Rakipi: I am a resident in Municipal Unit No. 1 in Tirana. I had applied several times with ALUIZNI. Various ALUIZNI specialist teams have taken the measurements of my property several times and they all have affirmed that I was one of the first citizens to apply for the legalization of my informal building, but acknowledging they could do nothing to help me as other people were the ones to make the decision. Considering that ALUIZNI was not addressing the matter, I accessed the Platform and I am really grateful solving my case. Six days from the application, I received a reply to report at ALUIZNI office and collect my legalization permit that was issued on July 10. I now expect to receive the property ownership certificate. I am grateful to the portal, to co-governance office coordinators and the Prime Minister who has initiated the co-governance platform.

Katerina, coordinator of co-governance with the citizens: The next case I am about to introduce has been also finally solved after Mr. Artur Tanushi filed a complaint with the platform. Mr. Tanushi had submitted the self-declaration form to ALUIZNI regional directorate in Tirana in 2006. ALUIZNI specialists had taken measurements of Mr. Tanushi’s property several times, but the response he was always given was that his application file had been lost and procedure had to restart. Finally, Mr. Tanushi has been provided with the legalization permit and the practice has now been already forwarded to the Immovable Property Registration Office to issue the due property ownership certificate.

Mr. Artur Tanushi: I have gone through a lot of problems with ALUIZNI office. I am one of the first people to apply with ALUIZNI since the Agency’s establishment. The property I was applying for was an old property, not controversial at all in terms of ownership, but they never addressed my concern. I found out about the portal while watching you on TV. I was sceptical since no solution had been found for more than ten years. However, finally I decided to access the platform. A reply was provided shortly after, telling me that the case was being examined. Two or three days later, an ALUIZNI team appeared to take the measurements of my property and everything was finally solved within two or three weeks.

PM Edi Rama: The truth is that the ALUIZNI Directorate has been doing a colossal work over this four and half year period, because everything had to start from scratch after many files turned out to have been lost. But it is also true that many citizens have expressed serious concerns and problems, because there have been and there are still individuals who do not deserve to work in the offices of public administration tasked with delivering public services. What the platform really does to serve the state and the whole society, apart from addressing individual problems, is indeed the mounting pressure on the public administration. This is literally a true co-governance with the citizens, because an ordinary citizen from Tirana, Tropoja, or Konispol, either living in the countryside or in a city, regardless of their social situation, can in three minutes only mobilize a cabinet member and the entire government to tackle his problem.

An MP cannot, in most of cases, mobilize a cabinet member to address a certain issue concerning an individual or a community. But an ordinary citizen does, because as soon as he automatically files his complaint with the platform, his case is instantly proceeded by the coordinators of the co-governance office, who are direct representatives of the government in every institution and have the power to set in motion the entire mechanism and each cabinet member reports about it. A long list of every issue filed by the citizens via the platform is displayed on a screen at the end of every cabinet meeting. So, this is a real co-governance with the citizens. For over 20 or more years, people were used to slogans like ‘your vote, your voice”, “give me the vote so that I can render you my voice”, “express yourself by vote so that I can speak on your behalf during lifetime”, but such slogans were never materialized in the government’s daily life and work. But today, this is a reality. Today, every citizen has the power that by accessing the platform he mobilizes the entire government and not only that, he or she can also contribute towards removing all civil servants who don’t deserve working in the public administration.

Aleko, coordinator of the co-governance office: A large number of retired people have accessed the co-governance platform, complaining over incorrect calculation of their pension payment. The truth is that their complaints have been justified in most of the cases. As such is the case of Mr. Petrit Dyrma from Kuçova. Mr. Petrit addressed to the platform by end of October, complaining that, based on the number of quoted years over his work life and profession, the pension payment was lower than it should be. The case was treated by the Social Insurance Institute and the wrong calculation was found.  Starting from December, Mr. Petrit Dyrma will receive the correct payment and the credit balance over the past three years.

Mr. Petrit Dyrma: I am from Kuçova and I retired in 2014. The retirement benefit was calculated incorrectly. I addressed to the regional Social Insurance Institute in Berat, but they failed to address the matter. Then I accessed the platform and my problem has now been solved. I am really satisfied at the coordinators’ performance and the government staff working here. I call upon other retired people to address the platform should they encounter similar problems. Thank you very much!

PM Edi Rama: I am especially glad when we resolve the desperate cases of pensioners who, also because of a scandalous legacy of the Social Insurance Institute – which for years now is working to arrange the entire information base – are not able to receive the right amount of pension payment they are entitled to. The pension they receive does not properly rewards with dignity all their life’s sufferings. But, on the other hand, every pensioner must know that we are here to serve precisely to resolve any case when the pension calculation is not appropriate.

Entela, coordinator of the co-governance office: Another case processed and tackled by the co-governance office at the Ministry of Finance and Economy concerns the case of Mr. Halit Aga from Tirana, who addressed “Albania We Want” platform, after failing to receive full pension payment. With his complaint received, his pension file was re-examined by the regional Directorate of the Social Insurance Institute in Tirana and Mr. Aga receives today a full pension benefit since April 2018 using the contribution-based calculation system after having accrued 43 years and nine months of contributions.

Mr. Halit Aga: Actually, I felt insulted as a citizen. In the last years before retiring, I worked at the social sector of the high security prison in Fushë Krujë. I honestly felt insulted by the Regional Directorate of Tirana. I complained about the retirement and in return they decided to deny me the pension right. Thank you very much for what you have done. This is your idea and I sincerely like it.

Juela, coordinator of the co-governance office: The Ministry of Finance and Economy, via the National Employment Service, has treated and addressed the case of Mr. Gjelosh Mitaj from Shkodra, who for seven years had failed in his efforts to find a job as a painter and earn a living. But, after his complaint was examined by the co-governance platform, he took up the job offer to work in a local footwear factory.

Mr. Gjelosh Mitaj: Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister.  I am a painter by training. For seven consecutive years, I have been registering with the local Employment Service in Shkodra, a city that is home to a large number of painters. For seven years, no one lifted a finger at the local Employment Service. One day, I told them that I was going to write to the Prime Minister over my problem. And I did. It was Friday and only few days later, on Tuesday, I received a call from the Employment Service office.

PM Edi Rama: I am convinced that the factory will design and produce much better shoes now/

Juneta, coordinator of the co-governance office: Another case handled in the framework of interaction between the co-governance platform and the citizens, features that of the teacher Nertila Budini regarding two of her pupils in the primary school in Cerrik. Through her request filed with the platform, we found out the fact that the family of Mr. Luan Hasa lived in poverty in an apartment house built by the Municipality of Cerrik, but that lack electricity supply. The case was instantly forwarded to the Power Distributor Operator (OSHEE) that acted promptly to solve the matter and launch a new electricity supply contract. The case is being further monitored by the co-governance coordinators to provide compensation because of the social tariff.

Mr. Nertila Budini: I am from Elbasan and over the past two years I have been working as a teacher at “7 Marsi” primary education school in the town of Cerrik. On a regular day, I found out that the house of one of my pupils lacked electricity supply for around 15 years. I was really surprised and deeply moved. I didn’t think twice and I knew whom to address to. I have an earlier experience since I am hired as a teacher via the portal “Teachers for Albania”. At the end of school day, I took the phone and I immediately downloaded the application and, being fully confident, I filed my complaint with the platform. On the very next day, I found out that the platform is not merely a formal institution, but rather a very credible one. On the third day, I received a number of phone calls from the director of the regional OSHEE office and workers of other institutions and on Monday, as soon as I entered the classroom, I saw my pupils burst into tears of joy. Thank you!

PM Edi Rama: Thank you very much and I would like to express respect for you for your civic engagement that has brought about solving a social problem for a family that did not even know how and where to address and had not enjoyed attention from the Municipality of Cerriku to find the deserved solution.

Etleva, coordinator of the co-governance office: Mr. Vladimir Duma accessed the platform to voice his personal concern over his own house. Due to a fault in the sewerage network, his apartment was heading to destruction. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Municipality of Vlora sent the inspection group, involving water supply and sewerage workers. They verified the case and, although the intervention was almost impossible due to the interconnection of the OSHEE line with the sewerage network, they did to fix Vladimir’s problem.

Mr. Vladimir Duma: I thank the Platform, especially the government of the Prime Minister and his assistants, in particular Mrs. Eva, who took over these duties and am very pleased that everything is now fixed at home.

Etleva, coordinator of co-governance office: It’s my honour to welcome today Mrs. Qëndrime, a resident in Novoselw administrative unit, Panaja village. These are seemingly simple community complaints, but which are really exhausting for everyone who experiences them. Mrs. Qëndrime herself doesn’t quite recall the last time when her house was supplied with potable water. Once the situation was verified, she now has water supply through a new water supply line built from scratch.

Mrs. Qëndrime: I had no water in the house since the regime change back in the 1990s. I would like to express appreciation to the Prime Minister and the platform. I wish you every success!

PM Edi Rama: Many thanks for taking the trouble to come here. I am very glad that the matter was resolved. The truth is that we experience serious inherited problems with the water supply system and sanitation in the whole territory. We have entered the path of a change, but it takes time, requires a lot of funding. The water reform is gradually progressing positively and in Vlora area in particular we plan to implement a major investment next year, to ultimately tackle the problem of sewage discharge to the sea, a 70-year-old problem of sewerage system I believe we will finally deal with and turn the city’s entire coastline into a spectacular and popular beach.

Adela, coordinator of the co-governance office: A complained filed by Mrs. Elisa Shkodrani, mother of two at kindergarten 18, Administrative Unit No.2, Tirana, arrived at the address of platform “Albania We Want”. Mrs. Shkodra voiced concern over the large number of children compared to the number of kindergarten teachers. The co-governance platform addressed the matter in collaboration with the relevant directorate at the Municipality of Tirana by hiring more kindergarten teachers.

Mrs. Elisa Shkodrani: My twins started kindergarten for the first time this year. As many as 50 children attended the kindergarten, while its capacity is for only 20 children. Only a kindergarten teacher and a sanitary worker looked after them. I have twins and it is really difficult to look after them, whereas a single person had to look after 50 kids. Frankly saying, I was initially quite sceptical and I didn’t expect a reply, let alone for the problem to be solved. Two other kindergarten teachers were hired. I would like to thank you, the coordinators of the co-governance office and the Municipality of Tirana.