The most transparent company in Slovakia is the capital’s city transport company, Dopravný Podnik Bratislava (DPB). It is also the only Slovak firm in the top 10 transparent companies in the Visegrad Group.
This stems from the analysis carried out by the ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) in cooperation with other organisations, which surveyed altogether 36 companies from the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, i.e. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. From each country they picked nine companies owned by the municipality, whose annual turnover exceeded €4 million, the Sme daily reported.
The most open approach was reported at the city transport company in Prague, the Czech Republic, followed by Hungarian waste company FKF from Budapest and DPB.
“The openness of municipal companies in the V4 countries is not high,” TIS claimed, as quoted by Sme.
Czech companies scored the best, achieving more than a 41 percent score on average. Hungarian firms achieved 40 percent on average, while Slovak ones had 34 percent and Polish about 24 percent.
TIS evaluated each company in 10 categories. DPB achieved the overall score of 54.17 percent. It received the highest score for access to information about the company, public procurement, contracts and annual reports, as well as information about subsidies and sponsoring. It also describes the process of asking for information.
On the other hand, DPB received the worst evaluation for performance criteria, like revenues, profit and number of customers, information about selection procedures, and information about management, Sme reported.
The worst of Slovak companies surveyed by TIS was the Nitra Community Services company which significantly lagged behind similar firms, like Technical Services of the city of Prešov.
“Slovak municipal companies lag behind their colleagues in the region mostly in access to information and public procurement,” reads the TIS analysis, as quoted by Sme.
On the other hand, Slovak firms score well in categories like sale and rent of property and ethics infrastructure. Another strong side of Slovak municipal companies, compared with Hungary and Poland, is the compulsory publishing of details about signed agreements, said Michal Piško, programme coordinator at TIS.
Recommendations to improve transparency
The watchdog focused on municipal firms mostly due to the public finances they work with. Back in 2015, it included 81 important state, municipal and regional companies in its transparency ranking. These firms deal with about €9.5 billion annually. For the companies picked for its most recent ranking, the sum amounts to €380 million a year, Sme reported.
To become more transparent, TIS recommends the municipal companies to publish annual reports including information about profits and losses, audit outcome, plans for performance criteria and their evaluation. Moreover, the companies should publish CVs of their management members and company bodies, as well as information about their salaries and other benefits.
It is also important to publish details about ownership structure and shares of shareholders, and information about subsidies. The companies should also publish announcements and results of public competitions and prepare an anti-corruption programme, Sme wrote.