On December 16, a new internet portal of public information www.opendata.ge opened. The web page provides information on budgets, reserve funds and payroll funds of different ministries as well as bonuses received by ministers and other public officials. Communication and fuel expenses of government officials and other public information are available to the public either.
The material published by the web page is based on the official information submitted by the ministries alone. In the future, however, ordinary citizens and non-governmental organizations will also serve as a source of information.
The idea of creating a web portal of public information belongs to the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, a newly created non-governmental organization. The financial support for the project has been provided by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.
The creation of the web page aims to increase accountability and responsibility of the authorities towards citizens. "This is the information, to which we, as citizens of Georgia, should have access. We would like to contribute to the transparency of activities of public officials and increase their responsibility and accountability towards the public", says Keti Khutsishvili, the Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation.
MPs, officials from ministries, representatives of NGOs, international institutions and the media attended the web portal presentation. NGO representatives named those ministries that submitted requested information within the term defined by law. Ministries from which the NGO failed to obtain any information were also named.
"For instance, the Reintegration Ministry proved the most transparent, since it submitted exhaustive information within the term defined by law. This term was violated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but still it provided this information, unlike the President's administration, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation. By this project we are trying to increase standards of accountability and transparency. It is important that public institutions publish such information themselves, without us having to apply for it", Project Director Levan Avalishvili said.
The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information revealed an interesting trend in the process of obtaining the information. There are cases when the total amount of bonuses of a public official exceeds or equals to his/her annual salary.
For more information please, see the presentation. You will find details regarding the terms of submitting the information and content of the information required from public institutions.