The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) has been actively observing the challenges of the bureaucratic system in Georgia over the years.Monitoring results show that the maintenance and purchase of new state vehicles continues to involve considerable expenses, pointing to a serious challenge and the necessity by the government to create a more efficient system of state vehicle management.
In 2017, IDFI published a report on the Challenges of the Georgian Bureaucratic System (2011-2016), which clearly identified problems in the process of optimization of state vehicle use. Despite establishing various mechanisms for controlling fuel consumption, the weakness of oversight instruments for inappropriate vehicle use still remained a key challenge. Another report by IDFI on Regional Governor State Vehicles and Fuel Expenses: 2017-2018 published in 2019, also found that the high overall number of vehicles owned by governor administrations, prevalence of expensive luxury models and high fuel expenses demonstrated the necessity of optimization and stricter oversight mechanisms.
On September 13, 2019, the State Audit Office published an interagency compliance audit report on managing and regulating state owned vehicles. The report covers data from 34 institutions for the year 2017. Considering the fact that the State Audit Office enjoys unlimited access to the documents kept in state institutions, problems associated with administration and optimization of state owned vehicles, their procurement, fuel expenses, and other related challenges became even more obvious.
IDFI welcomes such a large scale monitoring carried out by the State Audit Office, as it enables the exposure of systemic shortcomings. IDFI shares the spirit of the recommendations presented by the State Audit Office, which point to the necessity of raising the effectiveness of the state commission, and stricter oversight mechanisms of fuel consumption in order to reduce expenses of state vehicle use. In most cases, recommendations of the State Audit Office and IDFI are similar - for example: introduction of GPS use, fuel consumption monitoring through special chips, other electronic controlling systems.
IDFI calls on the Parliament to carry out parliamentary oversight of the systematic shortcomings of state vehicle use presented by the State Audit Office and IDFI, and take action to improve existing legal framework in order to fulfill the above recommendations. It is essential to start discussions on the establishment of a centralized service of state owned vehicles.
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