Integrity Watch Survey Findings: Service Delivery and Urban Governance have deteriorated

8 Subh Kabul: Integrity Watch announced the results of its survey of the services of 11 municipalities on Monday, October 26. According to the survey, despite government claims of greater investment and success in municipal services, these services have declined in the cities.

The survey was conducted under the title “Citizens’ Report Card on Municipal Services in Afghanistan”. According to Integrity Watch, the services of Kabul Municipality have not only not improved since 2015, but according to this survey, its score has declined from 2.2 to 2.1. Integrity Watch has prepared this survey in relation to the findings of citizen reporting in previous years.  The findings of this survey in general show that service delivery has deteriorated compared to 2017. All the indicators of this poll remain in the categories of “average” and “bad”.

Sayid Akram Fazli, the chief executive of Integrity Watch, told a news conference that the government had promised in 2015 to use survey information to bring about improvements in their work. “It is very sad that the government has not been able to improve urban governance through municipalities in recent years,” he said.

Ezatullah Adeeb, an Integrity Watch investigator, says that seven municipalities have lagged behind compared to their performance between 2017 and 2019. According to him, municipalities have declined from 3.4 to 2.8 in Charikar, 3.2 to 2.7 in Mazar Sharif, 3.2 to 2.5 in Herat, 2.7 to 2.1 in Bamyan, 2.9 to 2.1 in Jalalabad, 2.2 to 2.1 in Kabul and 2 to 1.4 in Ghardez.

According to the Integrity Watch survey, the municipalities of Kandahar, Mahmod Raqi and Kunduz rank first, second and third, respectively.  In contrast, the municipalities of Jalalabad, Kabul and Ghardez had the lowest scores. Charikar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Mehtarlam, Herat and Bamyan are ranked fourth to eighth, in that order. Integrity Watch states that cities in Kandahar and Mehtarlam were included in the survey for the first time and in 2019, they scored 2.9-3 out of 5. This agency described the situation in the cities of Mahmod Raqi and Kunduz as improving. “Mahmod Raqi scored 2.7 in 2017 and in 2019, this increased to 2.7, while Kunduz city has improved from 2.5 to 2.7 between 2017 and 2019.”

The Chairperson of Integrity Watch said that, “one of the reasons why municipalities have failed to meet the minimum expectations of the people is the lack of focus and delays in essential municipal affairs, including budgeting and training, on the part of the president, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance and the Independent Administrative Reform Commission and civil services.”

Sayed Akram Afzali has said that municipalities should facilitate interaction between citizens and the government to solve the problem of low citizen participation.  He called on the president to undertake real reforms, including delegating authority to local governments, to mobilize cities to provide services.