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Tax-payers’ money used inefficiently in professional theaters, music sector – State Audit Office

RIGA – Lack of strategies in theaters and concert organizations, shortage of information about the theater and music market, bureaucracy, differing principles for calculation of state subsidies are the reason the State Audit Office questions efficiency of the Culture Ministry in relation to work with professional theaters and music organizations.

"Financing for culture is a long-term investment in the country’s development. However, also in this sector we should assess whether the invested money has achieved its goals, and whether there are any goals set at all. The society by paying taxes is funding 14 professional theaters and concert organizations – in total some EUR 23 million a year. The Culture Ministry should work wisely to turn this investment in a good result. Unfortunately, we see problems in this work," said Chief Auditor Elita Krumina.

During the audit, the auditors concluded that the Culture Ministry only partly follows the good governance principles of state-owned companies defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The majority of the professional theaters and concert organizations are still working without clear strategies, and financing often is allocated based on historical data rather than priorities of culture policies.

The institutions supervised by the Culture Ministries either do not even measure their results or set their goals so that they are always achieved, reporting overachievement by 300-800 percent. The auditors believe that this is a formal measuring and there is no challenge to achieve such goals.

At the same time, the Culture Ministry is ordering sizeable reports four times a year from theaters and concert organizations, but these reports cannot be used to control use of government funds or to assess the overall financial situation in the organizations.

The audit was conducted for the time period from January 1, 2014, until June 30, 2017.

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