Open Data Kosovo believes that data disclosure is essential in establishing a good, transparent and accountable governance. Open data is a fundamental way of citizen participation in decision making. Therefore, data provided by government institutions should be public, easily accessible, as well as in open formats.
On 13.05.2016, the Government of Kosovo approved the Open Data Charter in the Republic of Kosovo.
The law on Access to Public Documents
is in force and guarantees free access to this information. However, on our request to have access to the business register, the Kosovo Business Registration Agency, which operates within the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has responded positively, but seeking financial compensation for electronic copies. Given that the payment for access to official records is inconsistent with the Law on Access to Public Documents and
Regulation No. 02/2012 on Tariffs for Access to Public Documents,
ODK has refused to make such a payment.
Thus, we are forced to generate information from the KBRA website by using Scraping. *
Limited access to company records is a problem for everyone. Closed business information creates space for money laundering, corruption, misuse and organized crime. These problems prevent local and global economic development. Reasons on why the following information should be open:
Opening business data allows economic analysis of sectors as well as various economic activities.
It creates space for analyzing economic trends in different periods and regions.
It creates space for market analysis by local and international investors.
The availability of this data will also contribute to attracting foreign investors who would make investments based on business records and on statistical evidence.
Opening data can also be used as a marketing tool for businesses. This allows large companies from the world or other contractors to search for your company based on: company sector, size, location, experience, ownership etc.
Opening these business data would enable data linking with other sectors such as public procurement or property declaration, which would strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms.
The opening of business data would directly affect the awareness of entrepreneurs and citizens to make decisions based on factual data analysis.
Following these principles, the Kosovo Business Registration Agency (KBRA) should improve and simplify access to business information in Kosovo.
Some of the recommendations under which KBRA should make the opening of the data are as follows:
Business data, excluding sensitive personal data, should be publicly accessible free of charge.
Business data needs to be updated and presented in real time.
All data must be searchable. For example, not only the business name or registration number, but also the names of the owners and authorized persons.
The names of owners and authorized persons should be listed on the open data and not be considered as personal information. This is important as it allows us to see the connection with politically exposed persons (PEPs).
The data should enable the gender of the people who have businesses. This will allow policymakers to intervene to promote gender equality in the business and entrepreneurship development sector.
Business published data should be up-to-date, including business dissolution date, in order to have an analysis of the period in which these businesses are dissolved.
To be accessible from the public the data should be published in open format, readable easily by software e.g. CSV and JSON.
Data should be downloadable as a whole, as well as under an open license that allows use and re-use by the general public. For example, an example of an open license is:
Data must be formatted, stored and made available using international data standards. In this case, it is the OpenCorporates business data standard.
Open Data Kosovo is available for cooperation in the implementation of open data principles, to help institutions achieve the highest level of transparency that contributes to the good of the whole country. We are also open to cooperating with other partners in further enhancing this project.
Read more about the open data field:
Open Government Partnership
OGP - The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and utilize new technologies to strengthen governance. In order to become a member of the OGP, participating countries must adopt an Open Government Declaration, draft an action plan conducted with public consultation and engage in independent reporting on the progress of the plan. So far 75 countries around the world are part of OGP.
Open Knowledge International
Open Knowledge International is a global nonprofit organization focused on implementing the value of open social data, helping civil society groups to access and use data to solve social problems.
OpenCorporates is the largest open database of companies in the world, with more than 100 million companies from around the world. The primary goal is to make more useful information about public benefits, especially to address the use of companies for criminal or anti-social purposes, such as corruption, money laundering and organized crime.
* Web Scraping is a technique used to automate the extraction of large amounts of data that are accessible from websites.