Transparency of state firms assessed

SLOVAK state-owned companies as well as companies owned by municipalities are overly politicised and lack transparency, according to a report released by Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), an NGO.

SLOVAK state-owned companies as well as companies owned by municipalities are overly politicised and lack transparency, according to a report released by Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), an NGO.

The analysis prepared by TIS covers 30 state-owned firms and 15 companies owned by municipalities that generate annual revenue of about €3 billion and employ about 50,000 people, the SITA newswire reported.

One-third of the 45 firms failed to respond to the request for information submitted by TIS, even though the NGO said the firms are required to furnish the data under Slovakia’s freedom of information law. Two-thirds of the firms failed to provide information to TIS about compensation for their management or to provide CVs for managers.

“The low transparency rate goes hand in hand with the highly-politicised management of these firms,” said Gabriel Šípoš, the head of TIS, as quoted by SITA.

Šípoš said two-thirds of the members of the supervisory boards and boards of directors in the state-owned firms are regularly replaced after parliamentary elections while only 10 percent of these firms’ statutory representatives survived longer than one election term.

He added that this politically-motivated reshuffling causes instability in state-owned companies and prioritises an orientation toward short-term goals rather than securing the long-term health of the firm and providing quality services, SITA reported.

Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko, the railway passenger carrier, and public-service broadcaster RTVS were rated most transparent by TIS as they had received two-thirds of the possible points based primarily on their release of economic indicators, contracts and invoices.

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