A number of Afghan lawmakers on Sunday said a recent decision by the Presidential Palace to split up the Ministry of Finance into three separate directorates is political and it will weaken trust in the government among international donors.
Based on the decision, the ministry would be divided into the office of revenues and customs, the office of the treasury, and the finance administration.
“The widespread corruption in the Ministry of Finance–now divided into three parts–will be increased three-fold. This itself will cause damage to Afghanistan’s economy and this decision is not a scientific decision, it is a political decision,” said Azim Mohseni, head of the finance and budget committee of the Afghan parliament.
“Corruption is the reason behind the weakness of Afghanistan’s institutions. The reason for corruption is that committed and specialized people are not appointed for tasks, they are mostly appointed for political purposes,” said Gul Rahman Hamdard, an MP.
Economic analysts said the decision is highly questionable.
“If these directorates are shifted to the Presidential Palace under the pretext of making them independent, this is questionable, and it brings up the principle of transparency, and ultimately it will be judgwd as political interference,” said Nasim Akbar, a lecturer at Gelisim University in Turkey.
The Ministry of Finance has four deputy ministerial offices: the deputy minister’s office for revenues and customs, the deputy minister’s office for policies, the deputy minister’s office for finance and the deputy minister’s office for administration.
Sources have said that the deputy minister’s office for policies will be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On March 31, the United States Institute of Peace said that “dismembering” the Ministry of Finance in this manner will cripple it.
United States Institute of Peace in their report stated the organization’s belief that moving key ministry functions to the president’s office is “bad for governance, development, and the sustainability of peace.”