Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Development Projects in Limbo

It is important for Afghanistan to make maximum use of the resources and funds that are available so that country is able to strengthen its economy and go through these tough times easily. Any resource or funding that is wasted in this crucial juncture of history would have its impacts for a long time to come. Therefore, the government and responsible authorities need to make sure that they remain loyal and committed in this regard and do not waste the opportunities that can lead the country towards development and ultimately betterment. Unfortunately, the relevant authorities have not been very much dedicated in this regard.

Ministry of Economy recently disclosed that work on 107 development projects which were financed from the national budget, were not started in last fiscal year. The ministry said work on 57 other projects was stopped due to different reasons in the same year. Suhrab Bahman, spokesman for the Ministry said in a statement, “Documents and study of projects are not accurate therefore when they come to procurement phase, they face problems. They are rejected and it takes time to prepare the documents, complete the studies and then re-start the projects… There are other problems such as lack of capacity or influence of powerful figures which affect the implementation of national projects.” This situation is really tragic and shows the level of reluctance, lack of potential and corruption on the part of relevant authorities and institutions to perform their duties and achieve the targets that are set for the growth and development of the country as a whole.

Afghanistan, as a matter of fact, has failed to deliver maximum at times when the development is required the most and, in the process, has also lost some golden opportunities. Corruption has been lethal enough to annihilate the efforts or the plans to reconstruct the country and the different systems that may set it on the way to development. It should be noted that billions of dollars poured in the country for both military support and development projects. But if we analyze the socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the country the development does not seem as great as it should have been. Most of these aids were devoured by corruption instead of being spent for the intended purposes. Either the money that was to be spent through government or the NGO sector, both the ways corruption had the largest share.

Afghanistan is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. This is really tragic and shows that no considerable work has been done against corruption though it has been highlighted as a major problem throughout the last decade. And, it has had negative influences as well; particularly in the top governmental institutions. Corruption not only dominated the elections but also haunted the Kabul Bank and brought bad name to the nation and at the same time financial loss; however, it has been left to dominate with vigor and strength. It has, in fact, victimized our society more than terrorism and insecurity and today if Afghanistan is not able to stand on its own, it is also because of the corruption.

In addition to this tragic situation, National Unity Government (NUG) has failed to deliver on their promises to carryout development work or fight corruption in the country. With the change in government, there were some hopes that the situation would get better as NUG, in its early days, promised to handle corruption with iron fists; however, that does not seem to be happening even after years have passed. Many development projects are in limbo and there are concerns being raised by international organizations that assistance fund and support in Afghanistan are not being used for their intended purposes.

There seems to be no doubt in the fact that one of the basic reasons of the persistent rise in corruption in Afghanistan is the lack of commitment and honest efforts to control and eradicate this menace. Neither the previous government, nor the current government has shown real efforts to face it seriously. Therefore, the serpent has survived and has become reckless and out of control.

It is a real challenge now for the Afghan government to stand against it. However, a solid and dedicated effort against it can make a difference. It is not altogether impossible to defeat it. Definitely, strict measures are required, temperaments would be tested, institutions would be questioned, the powerful would have to be threatened, and more responsible attitude would be expected from all the people; in short, the whole mechanism would be shaken if there are real and honest efforts. And, it should be noted that there is no alternative for Afghanistan. The way it is going on leads to chaos and instability. If it has to achieve development and complete the development goals, it must decide now and act accordingly.