WASHINGTON, August 25, 2015— The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors approved today US$32million IBRD financing for the Citizen-Centric Service Delivery Project in Albania. The project will aim to improve the quality and access to administrative services in Albania.
Despite substantial improvements over the last decade, especially for business services, delivery of administrative services in Albania remains short of European standards. More than a million citizens interact every year with a fragmented and not very efficient service delivery apparatus, where inequalities and corruption are present. Perceptions of corruption in service delivery remain high.
The World Bank’s Systematic Country Diagnostic (2015) identified the delivery of basic public services as a constraint for sustainable and equitable growth. Institutional reforms aimed at reducing corruption are also at the forefront of the EU’s requirements for Albania’s progress toward further EU integration.
The new project is aligned with the Government of Albania’s reform program of public service delivery “Innovation against corruption” launched in June 2014.The proposed one-stop-shop citizen service center in Tirana, regulatory reform, increasing the number of on-line provided services, process re-engineering, and automation are key elements of this reform.
“The project aims to support Albania in bringing about broader and more systemic reforms,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “With its focus on improving service delivery, increasing transparency, reducing scope for corruption and enhancing the accountability of government, the new project underpins the newly approved Country Partnership Framework for Albania.”
The project focuses on reducing the time and cost of service delivery both for citizens and the government through automation and online provision, reducing scope for corruption, implementing modern service delivery, and adopting citizen focused ethics for provision of public services. The project will also introduce a citizen feedback mechanism on service delivery performance.
“Citizens are the main beneficiaries of the project .Albanians will benefit from greater efficiency in the delivery of these services, translated into time and monetary savings for them. Through specific activities, the project will ensure that the poor and vulnerable have improved access to administrative services,” said Jana Kunicova, World Bank Senior Public Sector Specialist and Project Leader. “The project is expected to significantly reduce the days needed to obtain the motor vehicle registration and the health card, or to reduce the number of days to process the pension application, just to mention some of the services.”
The project has three components. Component 1 supports enhancements of the back-end systems: business process reengineering of services, building new IT systems and automation of services. Component 2 supports enhancements to the citizen interface with service delivery: reforming front offices in existing agencies, improving citizen convenience with one stop shops, improving online delivery of services, implementing beneficiary feedback, and providing information on services. Component 3 builds the government’s capacity to deliver improvements in services, including the implementation of a communications strategy and campaign.
Since Albania joined the World Bank in 1991, a total of 87 projects comprising over US$2.4billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country.