There is no doubt that the deep rooted corruption in almost all or ganizations of Afghanistan is hampering nurturing of our social and economic infrastructures but one should not be pessimistic about the future of Afghanistan. Developments can not be achieved over nights. Nonetheless, Afghanistan is endeavoring to accomplish economic prosperity in spite of continuing insurgency by Taliban and other groups of terrorists.
Like other fields, in Afghanistan since the ouster of Taliban in 2001, there have significant improvements in financial management that has contributed in overall economic prosperity. It is very vital for a country to have an efficient financial system. A transparent financial system guarantees fast economic growth of a nation.
Efficient financial system and proper accountability can not only improve the trust of Afghans but also increase the confidence of the donors on the government of Afghanistan. Apparently in the last ten years we have not achieved any improvement except killings and violence. But if we concentrate more we will find that Afghanistan has achieved many important milestones and there are many stories of success. These stories are the sources of hope for the people of Afghanistan.
The Soviet invasion, long term civil war and Taliban entirely cracked the economy of Afghanistan. But in the last ten years, the economic growth in Afghanistan has been noteworthy. This growth would not be possible without the financial and technical support of international community.
Despite the good growth, Afghanistan is still one of the poorest countries of the world but there are stories that give hope of bright future to Afghans. One of those stories is the introduction and implementation of new financial system by Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF).
The Afghan Ministry of Finance has worked hard to introduce modern financial system in the country which has helped the government in the management and execution of budget, control of public expenditures, reduction of corruption, collection of revenues and on-time payment of salaries to government employees. The Treasury Department of Ministry of Finance has been able to implement Afghanistan Financial Management Information System (AFMIS) and Verified Payroll Program (VPP) across Afghanistan.
AFMIS is a computer based system for the financial activities of Afghan government. It has brought ease in the financial transactions in Afghanistan. By use of AFMIS detailed records of government payments are maintained electronically.
The backup of these records are saved in multiple sites in order to avoid their loss and damage. The budget allocations of provincial offices of the ministries entered in the AFMIS in Kabul are accessible in all provinces of Afghanistan within no time.
Any payments made by the provincial offices can immediately be reported to MoF and other line ministries of Afghanistan by AFMIS. According to MoF officials, the Afghanistan Financial Management Information System has replaced the manual ways of record keeping and financial reporting.
The manual system caused many delays in financial activities. Due to insecurity and poor infrastructures the provincial reports usually reached the center with significant delays. Most of the time, after receiving those reports it was found that there are serious sorts of errors in them. Advising the provincial offices on the errors would take months. But now things have completely changed. Reports on expenditures can be got any time.
The contribution of US government has been quite important in the project of AFMIS. The project of AFMIS was initially tested in Kabul in 2002 with financial support of United Sated Agency for International Development (USAID).
After its successful implementation in center, it was decided to roll it out to all the provinces of Afghanistan. The work on installing AFMIS in Afghan provinces began in 2006 with the funding from World Bank.
But the team working on AFMIS found certain technical problems in implementing the project of AFMIS. It took the team about two years to resolve those technical issues. Finally the team was successful to connect Herat in late 2007 and Parwan in the beginnings of 2008 to Afghanistan Financial Management Information System. Utilizing the experience, Afghanistan treasury continued its work and connected all the provinces of Afghanistan to AFMIS by January, 2010 except the remote province of Nuristan.
Installing AFMIS in Parun, the capital of Nuristan province remained a challenge for the Afghan MoF. Nuristan is not only remote but also one of the most insecure provinces of Afghanistan. However, with the air support of international forces in Afghanistan, the treasury department of MoF was able to connect Parun to AFMIS.
Parun was linked to AFMIS on 24 May, 2010. Now all the provinces of Afghanistan are connected to this new Afghanistan Financial Management Information System. Implementation of AFMIS can be deemed great achievement for the Afghan MoF.
Afghanistan has been defamed by the deep rooted corruption. It has fallen in the list of most corrupt countries of the world. If there had been no corruption, Afghanistan's position would be quite different from what it is now. The high officials in the MoF believe that projects like AFMIS are very helpful in fighting corruption in Afghanistan. The beneficiaries of manual financial system in Afghanistan were the corrupt officials.