2005-04-18

 

New Law for Non-Government Organizations

The Afghan government has asked the NGOs to submit their work reports and expenditures for the last three years. President Karzai appointed a committee of local and foreign representatives to study draft legislation aimed at controlling aid agencies after some Afghan people raised concern over the bill. The Afghan government announced that they had drafted the legislation in a move which followed a government probe into the activities of some non-government organizations {NGOs} and amid the perception by many Afghan people that the organizations are squandering international aid money. Most Afghan people say that half of the aid money is spent on the personal requirements of these NGOs. Fierce debate is raging over the slow progress in making Afghan daily life easier. The Afghan people accuse NGOs of squandering funds channeled through them. The Afghan people welcome President Karzai for appointing a committee to control the NGO activities. President Karzai skirted the NGO controversy at the outset of the Afghanistan Development Forum last week and instead pitched for more control over the way money is spent. All organizations concerned are accountable for expenditure of the funds contributed to Afghanistan. In past three years Afghanistan was the eyewitness to considerable political development and to rehabilitation and economic development of Afghanistan. It should be explained to Afghan people alongside its expenses. So the people can be assured the funds contributed for rehabilitation of Afghanistan were not embezzled. The government is responsible for its people because it is established based on their vote.

Comments:
I very glad to hear that NGO's are going to be watched more carefully.

The government shoud take this as an opportunity to coordinate the efforts of NGO's for development if at all possible.

Right now there are a lot of well-meaning people running around doing their own thing, if Afghanistan could harvest their enthusiasm and resources with a unified development plan that would be best.
 
While I agree with government oversight, private sector oversight is equally, if not more, important. Oversight from a free press being the most important.

I strongly disagree with poster "turnea" on a unified development plan. Some national level coordination is fine. However, local control is better as long as corruption can be minimized.

I admit however, that a central government sufficiently strong to hold the country together is the top priority, and local control is currently a secondary issue.
 
"I strongly disagree with poster "turnea" on a unified development plan. Some national level coordination is fine. However, local control is better as long as corruption can be minimized."

Why would local control be better?

In today's global economy the best bet an imporverished nation has is exports. In order to efectively export the country's resources need mapping, cross country roads need building foreign investements must be sought..

China and India have used federal coodination to great effect to these ends, it is even more crucial for landlocked Afghanistan to have careful development.

Corruption is a problem but not the greatest. Simple lack of funds is, as usual, coordination and central control number two. Local control would help, but it should not be predominant.
 
The problem the Afghan people have with NGO's is simple and not fixable.
Foreign contractors are paid a premium to perform work in Afghanistan much like military hazard pay. Contractors performing this work are doing so only because there are no skilled Afghan contractors to do the work.
Afghan contractors getting paid to US equilavent of $100.00 a week is good pay. American contractors doing the same work are getting better than $2,000.00 per week.
Therein lies the problem. If there were more skilled Afghani's to do the work, the problem would no longer exist but that is not the situation now. Until Afghanistan has enough skilled nationals to do the work, there will be a huge discrepancy in the expenditure of funds based on what Afghani's are typically paid and that can not be changed in the forseeable future as it takes years to become a skilled contractor.
It is however a very good idea to make sure Afghani nationals are getting all the jobs that they are capable of performing so the funds are spent in the most prudent fashion.
 
Resources are automatically "mapped" when local people are able to exploit local resources. Whether those resources are best devoted to exporting or local consumption is best determined by market forces, not central planning. Central planners can guess at what will facilitate maximum exploitation of resources, and should aid in guiding the process, but it is very easy to shape the emerging markets into inefficiency. This tendency of central planning is minimized by localizing control.

Local control also has the benefit of a higher representation ratio - individuals have a greater affect in shaping their own future when civil society structures are local. It is the job of the federal structures to make sure local structures do not become abusive to local populations, not to eliminate local structures from the equation.

"cross country roads need building foreign investements must be sought.."

I have no problem with that level of federal involvement. I also have no problem with federal institutions aiding local institutions in procuring foreign investment. I have a problem with the phrase "unified development plan". It suggests (to me - perhaps I am taking it wrong) that who, how, when, and where will be determined by central planning. This is almost always a bad idea.

Once again, however, I admit that at this stage of development, nothing is more important than ensuring that the central government is strong enough to maintain federal control.
 
At last! A check on the Toyota Taliban! About time. The info I read is that they don't even keep receipts; they'll have to make up their accounts out of thin air, I think.
 
Few people are more revolting than the NGO employee who claims that his organization has such high purposes that the organization or his own personal conduct may not be questioned. Some of these folks strive to treated as some sort of international nobility, exempt from the judgment of others.

Don't let them get away with it, but do keep their nose to the grindstone. One problem is that it can be very difficult to account for many NGOs expenditures. One way to comfort donors and aid recipients may be to subject NGO officers' personal accounts to scrutiny. (This, of course, is what I suppose Afghans do when they see NGOs drive up rental and real estate prices in Kabul while practically running down citizens with their Land Rovers.) Let's work on the public relations angle more and let the NGOs prove that they are worthy.
 
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