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Upper House Opposes Ministry Status for IDLG

Upper House Opposes Ministry Status for IDLG

KABUL – The Meshrano Jirga — or upper house of the parliament — on Sunday rejected a suggestion giving the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) the status of a full-fledged ministry. With an overwhelming majority, the Wolesi Jirga voted to convert the directorate into a ministry in December 2012 to enable lawmakers to summon IDLG officials for answering queries on their efficiency, use of funds and corruption.

The suggestion from a number of lawmakers came after the Wolesi Jirga Domestic Security Commission placed a bill regarding the directorate before the house. The measure proposes the IDLG should either be made a separate ministry or merged into the interior ministry.

At the time, lower house members were of the view there had been no coordination between police chiefs and provincial governors since the creation of IDLG in 2007 in compliance with a presidential decree. Previously, they said both governors and police chief were appointed by the president through the interior ministry. But now the governors are appointed through IDLG, a process that has damaged coordination.

On Sunday, as the Senate Defence Commission introduced the bill, the panel’s deputy head, Mohammad Daud Hassas, said the directorate should not be converted into a ministry because it would require a lot of funds, which the government was currently unable to afford. He suggested the directorate should either be made part of the Interior Ministry’s security section or given in the ministry’s subordination.

A number of lawmakers endorsed Hassas’s remarks, but others said IDLG currently received much funds and it would make little difference if converted into a ministry. They backed the conversation, arguing it would make the directorate answerable to parliament. But a third group of senators said the directorate should be left as it is. Hafiz Abdul Qayyum, who represents eastern Nuristan province, said if the directorate was converted into a ministry, it would promote corruption because its minister would offer bribes to MPs. (PAN)

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