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IWA wants decree on MoF restructuring revoked

IWA wants decree on MoF restructuring revoked

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On
Apr 07, 2020 - 15:17

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A watchdog on Tuesday urged President Ashraf Ghani to revoke his February 19 decree on restructuring the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Under the decree, three new independent government agencies will be established for revenue, customs, and treasury and budget, directly reporting to the president.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistaninfo-icon (IWA) voiced its concern over the decision, claiming it was made without consultation with major stakeholders including civil societyinfo-icon, elected representatives, and donors.

This decision, besides reducing accountability, risked further politicisation of key fiscal functions, feared IWA Executive Director Sayed Ikram Afzali.

He believed: “The ministry should have been restructured long back but the current decree is not well-informed major stakeholders were not consulted on it.”

He explained the role of the ministry had been left unclear except for providing corporate services to the three newly established agencies. The mandate to decide fiscal and economic policy was also unclear, he added.

Customs and revenue functions must be protected against political interference by ensuring merit-based and transparent recruitment of its leadership and staff, Afzali stressed.

The new decree did not emphasise on transparency and accountability to the public through reporting mechanisms to parliament, he claimed, alleging that strong internal and externalinfo-icon oversight had also been ignored.

“If the government continues with the intended restructuring, the Ministry of Finance would become more like a facility providing business services than an executive agency that directs fiscal and economic policies,” he remarked.

He warned the decision would also undermine accountability to parliament. Under the Constitution, ministers needed to enjoy the confidence of Parliament, which has the authority to give or deny the finance minister a vote of confidence.

The three newly established agencies would not be accountable to parliament, maintained Afzali, who said: “The structure outlined in the decree weakens the accountability of these institutions to the people and their elected representatives.”

“We call on the government to cancel this decree and engage in meaningful consultations with stakeholders before any major decisions are made,” Afzali said concluded.

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