The Government of Montenegro has long been acting as if the state parliament did not exist at all. The latest decision of the Constitutional Court, which annulled the provision of the Law on Budget and Fiscal Responsibility according to which the government could take loans without the consent of the Parliament, raises the question: who will be responsible for the previous unlawful proceedings.
It does not only concern the chaotic and irresponsible borrowing from domestic and foreign banks under very unfavorable conditions and without the consent of the Parliament, but also a number of other illegal decisions that have also been challenged before the Constitutional Court, such as the one on the introduction of a tax on fuel, the cost of which was paid by the citizens of Montenegro.
MANS has long warned that the government has enormously indebted the state, and the burden of such a devastating policy is shifted to the citizens, because it takes money out of their pockets through various tax increases, introduction of taxes, freezing pensions, and cancellation of fees.
The fact that from 2009 to 2016, the government borrowed a whole billion without the consent of the Parliament best shows how the borrowing was uncontrolled. In that period, the annual budgets projected loans of a total of €2.2 billion, while the actual sum borrowed was €3.3 billion.
The Government did not ask for the Parliament’s approval for these overruns, nor was anyone responsible for this, while on the other hand, the largest number of representatives of the legislature “buried their heads in the sand.” Therefore, the public debt is rapidly growing, while new taxes are introduced.
Thus, from next year, the VAT will be increased to 21 percent, which will definitely increase the prices of energy sources and the total cost of living, especially for the most vulnerable categories of the population. Yet, it could only be a prelude, as the government projects that in the coming years the “holes” in the treasury will be filled by restructuring the existing debts and with new borrowings. So, in the five-year period, it planned to borrow €2.6 billion. MANS reminds that a huge minus in public finances is caused by the long-running state policy dominantly in private rather than public interest. Namely, the first higher loans began with the state aid to Prva Banka owned by Aco Djukanovic, the brother of former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. It continued with the Aluminum Plant (KAP) and “giving a hand” to the then owner, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
The prosecution has never prosecuted cases of granting state aid to Prva Banka and KAP, nor many others, in which Montenegrin citizens have been robbed of tens of millions of euros.
Moreover, the government’s tax policy, which fully protects tycoons’ private businesses, and not the public interest, so that the accumulated tax debt is over €700 million, significantly influenced the need for borrowing. Yet, despite such disastrous policy, nobody was held responsible, politically or legally.
Finally, MANS points out that in the Law on Budget and Fiscal Responsibility, in addition to the provision annulled by the Constitutional Court, it is necessary to revise the provision on redirection of budget funds. It is the provision that enabled the government to increase certain loans and interest, without any restrictions.