The NGO Infocentre, under the auspices of the “Citizen Monitoring of Local Level Inspection Services” Project, supported by the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of North Macedonia, conducted a public opinion survey on experiences and perceptions of citizens about the work of the municipal inspection services.
Over 40% of the citizens believe that the work of local inspectors is influenced by the mayors of their municipalities. Similar proportion of citizens believe that municipal inspectors are not professional or efficient and that, instead of protecting citizens and public interest, they protect the interests of holders of political and business power.
The citizens of the Skopje Region, citizens with university degrees and those between ages of 34 and 44, are the strongest proponents of the thesis that the work of the inspectors depends on the will of the mayors.
A small number of citizens (less than ten percent) said that they or their close friend or relative reported a problem with the competent municipal inspector. Almost two thirds of those who reported a problem were not satisfied with the experience they had and the actions of the local inspectors.
The problems reported by citizens to municipal inspectorates are those they believe are major and most common problems in their respective local community: (1) Public hygiene, waste management; (2) Noise polution, air polution and environmental relations in general; (3) Maintenance of streets, sidewalks and walking paths; (4) Water supply; (5) Allocation of construction and development permits; (6) Collection of taxes and other public dues.
42 percent of the citizens believe that the work of local inspectors is influenced by the mayors of their municipalities. Citizens of the Skopje Region (55%), citizens with university degrees (51%) and those between 35 and 44 years of age (48%) are greatest proponents of the thesis that the inspectors are dependent on the will of the mayors.
Almost 4 out of 10 citizens (39%) believe that the local inspectors protect the interests of local political and business power figures, while slightly less than a third (31%) believe that local inspectors professionally and efficiently protect the citizens and the public interest.
The mistrust of institutions that should protect the citizens and the public interest remains high. This poll reiterates that position with only 7.5% of the citizens saying they or their close friends or relatives reported a problem to the competent municipal inspector. The finding that full 60% of the citizens that did report a problem were not satisfied with the actions taken by the municipal inspectors is another cause of concern.
Regarding the method used by the citizens to report a problem, the most commonly used instrument was the web-site of the municipality (53%), followed by those that did it over the phone (33%) and those who went to the office of the inspector to report in person (31%).
Regarding the biggest problems faced by the citizens at the local level, they noted the problems with: public hygiene and waste management (19%), noise and air pollution and environmental issues in general (11%), maintenance of streets, sidewalks and walking paths (9%), lack of parking space (9%), water supply (5%), allocation of construction permits (3%), and collection of taxes and other public dues (1%).
Citizens of Skopje, Polog and Southeast Region led the way in pointing out the common problems they face. For instance, for 28.6% of citizens of the Skopje Region the biggest problem is waste management and public hygiene in general. 18.5% noted the noise and air pollution as a big problem, and additional 15.7% of citizens of municipalities in the Skopje Region emphasized the problem of insufficient parking space.
The public opinion survey commissioned by the NGO Info-centre was conducted by Stelar Research agency, using the CATI over-the-phone methodology on a national representative sample of 1003 citizens, in the period May 12-18, 2020.