Working meeting of representatives of The Association of Municipalities and Cities of FBiH and the Prime Minister of Canton Sarajevo

Nihad Uk

On July 5, 2023, a working meeting of the representatives of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton, Nihad Uk, was held in Sarajevo.

Among others, the meeting was attended by the President of the Presidency of the Assembly of the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hamdo Ejubović, Director of the Association Vesna Travljanin, Senior Associate for Legal Affairs Selma Fišek, Ombudsman of the Municipality of Hadžići Meliha Halilagić, and representatives of the Ministry of Economy of Sarajevo Canton.

The topic of this meeting was the Law on Amendments to the Water Law of the Canton of Sarajevo, which was adopted by the Assembly of the Canton of Sarajevo on 10/31/2022. year and to which local self-government units were transferred competences that were not accompanied by the transfer of financial resources for their execution. It was pointed out that the deadline of 12 months set by the Law is too short a time for municipalities to take over all local water supply systems and hand them over to the management of a legal entity that is registered and specialized in performing these tasks in accordance with the law, and that it is necessary to extend this deadline.

In his statement, President Ejubović pointed out that they discussed the problem that arose after the adoption of the amendments to the Water Law of Sarajevo Canton, and the difficulties in its application, especially due to the short deadline left to the local self-government units.

"We pointed out to the Prime Minister of the Sarajevo Canton that it is currently impossible to apply the amendments to the Law on Water without looking at it from all aspects. In addition, it is necessary to postpone its application in such a way as to give more time, and to provide funds in order to implement the Law. Specifically, it is about the transfer of competence for issuing water permits, which should now be transferred from the cantonal level to the local self-government units, for which they are not equipped in terms of personnel, and which they must carry out through their systematization and receive civil servants who will work that job. It is necessary for the local self-government units to take care of local waterworks, which until now have been performed by various groups of citizens or local communities, and to take it upon themselves, which is a very difficult and expensive job", emphasizes the president of the Association, Ejubović.

In the following, he pointed out that the Government of Sarajevo Canton and the Ministry of Economy will look into this issue in order to determine further steps in order to overcome this problem.

"We are really cooperative and eager to arrange this area, but in a way that it can be implemented. This requires more time and resources. In addition, we discussed the draft Law on Local Self-Government of Sarajevo Canton, which has been a problem since 2006 and which has not been resolved. Considering the functioning and complexity of Canton Sarajevo, this Law has not yet been adopted. Jurisdictions overlap between cantons, cities and municipalities, which does not benefit anyone. This problem could be overcome by law or a solution could be found that is functional and that in the foreseeable future will meet the needs of all areas that should be covered by local self-government units, which primarily concern infrastructure, communal activities, spatial planning, etc."

The Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton, Nihad Uk, emphasized in his statement that it was a pleasure to be at the first meeting with the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that it is of great interest and benefit for Sarajevo Canton, as well as for him, as Prime Minister. "We will do everything in our power to solve some challenges between the Canton and the municipalities, we also have the City of Sarajevo, which is a special unit of local self-government, and everything is in the interest of citizens, local communities and the Canton of Sarajevo," said Prime Minister Uk.

He pointed out that it will be difficult, because the issue of relations in the Sarajevo Canton between the local communities and the Sarajevo Canton has certainly not been resolved for decades and that it is a very complex issue which, in this way, cannot be said to be resolved in this mandate. He stated that he will do everything in his power, as prime minister, to make it easier for the citizens of Sarajevo Canton and the mayors, for all these injustices that evidently exist in the system, to be corrected, and once again underlined that this is in the interest of the citizens of those local communities. "We are all one party, public administration, our goal and task is to provide services to the citizens of Sarajevo Canton, and everything that can be agreed between these levels of government will have the full support of the Government of Sarajevo Canton, as well as the Assembly of Sarajevo Canton," said Prime Minister Uk.