Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Corruption in Infrastructure Development

Corruption in different forms and in different sectors in Afghanistan has had some very drastic impacts on the country as a whole. The resources and energies that could be spent for the development and progress of the country were hijacked by corruption. While the common people who required support during tough times and deserved those resources were kept deprived. Corruption has been one of the most dominant factors that has hampered any sort of development work in Afghanistan and may even push the country back to the era of misery and underdevelopment.

Infrastructure development is one of the sectors highly influenced by corruption. Recently an investigative survey by Construction Sector Transparency Initiative Afghanistan (CSTIA) of the Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) revealed that billions of dollars had been embezzled in infrastructure projects in Afghanistan due to lack of transparency over the past 15 years. The survey report also highlighted that the absence of transparency in implementation of infrastructural projects over the past one and a half decade caused embezzlement of billions of dollars. Sibghatullah Karimi, CSTIA coordinator, also said that corruption was rampant and problems plagued implementation of construction projects by the government and private sector and some projects were awarded to companies based on favoritism without going through a legal procedure. Moreover, poor reporting about construction process was one of the major problems.

This clarifies the bad condition of the infra-structure development in Afghanistan. Because of the corruption committed by few individuals and organizations, millions of people have been suffering in different ways. They have been negated their rights to development in other sectors because of misuse of resources in infrastructure development, which is the key to progress in many other areas.

Among the different priorities in the infra-structure development, the roads play a very crucial role. Without well-constructed and well-maintained roads, it is impossible to improve economy and even security. For economic activities, it is important that there should be useful roads that can help in transportation of raw material, capital, fuel, final goods, and even labor. If these all factors are not transported on time, the whole businesses tend to suffer huge losses and, therefore, they are disheartened and decide not to invest in the country.

As far as security is concerned the timely transportation of the troops and the arms is really vital. If the forces are not able to transport enough number of troops and weapons, the consequences can be really very much severe. In past, on many occasions in different parts of Afghanistan, when Taliban were able to carry out serious assaults, Afghan forces were not able to defend themselves because of the same reason that the troops and weapons were not transported on time. It is also crucial to note that there are many places in the remote areas where troops do not have any way of reaching except using the aerial route, which is always very expensive and not convenient for transferring large number of people at short span of time.

Certain major catastrophes in the country, mostly brought by natural disasters also revealed the fact that the country is not properly equipped with enough roads. Landslides, severe snowfall, avalanches and floods, at different instances, brought to the light the fact that the concerned authorities could not reach to the effected people because of roads. In some cases, the roads were never present; while in other cases they were in pathetic condition, not possible to use.

The roads are also very much necessary for bringing about beauty to a place and support people to have safe recreational journeys. It is really weird and unpleasant to find the roads that are broken and dusty. Moreover, the ugliness further increases in such roads when there is rain or overflow of drain water. Such conditions can cause different types of diseases as the drain water may remain on the roads for days and invite mosquitoes and other insects. In addition, the drain water, containing different types of bacteria, dries on the road and afterwards is blown in the air by passing vehicles and wind and becomes the stuff the people breath, which can cause different types of lungs diseases.

Thus, infrastructure development projects are really vital for Afghanistan; however, the important factor is that these projects should be pursued with true intentions and enthusiasm. Negligence in this regard would be a dishonesty with the entire nation. Therefore, there should be every effort not to allow corruption and fraudulence creep in these projects and thus fail them pathetically. Government, businessmen and investors should join hands and stand strong against every sort of corruption in infrastructure development and provide the people the opportunities to avail the required resources. Ultimately, it remains a fact that corruption on the part of an individual or organization in the sectors that involve a large number of people at a time is a great disservice and injustice to the community as a whole and must not go unpunished.