Sunday, 10 July 2016

Afghan Minister of Urban Development Affairs Mansoor Naderi launched a widespread campaign against corruption to boost housing sector

Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi is one of the youngest ministers in the cabinet of the government of Afghanistan. Enriched with the experience in trade and business, Mr. Naderi was appointed as the Minister of Urban Development Affairs as he was unanimously approved by the lawmakers in Lower House of the Parliament.  Mr. Naderi received 202 votes following an impressive statement he delivered in the Lower House to present his plans for the one of the most technical and professional ministries. Before starting his routine work, Mr. Naderi wakes up early in the morning for the prayers and gym workout and gets ready for the breakfast at around 6:00 am every day. He arrives in the office at 7:00 am and starts his work as per the scheduled which has been properly prepared.
– Construction of affordable houses.
– Fixing up the conditions of the major cities which have been out of the norms, reforms and capacity building are among the top priorities Mr. Naderi promised to take care of during his speech in the Lower House of the Parliament. Mr. Naderi came across with a bitter reality soon after assuming charge of the office as the Minister of Urban Development Affairs by coming to know that he has taken into heritage the massive misconducts from the previous administration which had badly affected its image and credit in the society. Corruption, incomplete projects and lack of trust by the people towards the ministry were making the headlines besides other challenges, including:
– Formation incompatible with the goals.
– Affected relations of the ministry with the people, entrepreneurs, and international sponsors.
– Competition and incompatibility in housing urban sector.
– Lack of legal authority and the position of the ministry in terms of decision making.
– Lack of identifying the capacities and loss of talents of the young generation.
– Rehabilitation of trust of the ministry.
Each of the above mentioned challenges seemed far from resolving as Mr. Naderi assumed charge of the ministry. But, as per the notion of Mr. Naderi “The existing challenges should not become barriers for the leaders to take a step ahead”. He appeared with power and firmness and took major steps during the first few weeks since he assumed the charge of the office and launched a widespread campaign against corruption, a step which was in contrast to the other ministers and politicians who are normally sidelining their commitments after achieving votes of confidence from the lawmakers, a move which is common in countries like Afghanistan. His initial major step was to dismiss 6 top officials of the ministry of urban development affairs for the miscue of authority, embezzlement, and bribery. The top officials were introduced to the Attorney General’s Office of Afghanistan despite they were influential individuals and had pocketed large sums during their work in the ministry and had luxury houses and expensive apartments in their custody. The introduction of the six senior officials to the Attorney General’s Office had a positive impact on the persistent situation of the ministry where corruption was rampantly on the rise but further steps were needed to eradicate the graft. Mr. Naderi continued with his efforts to root out corruption and create an environment not suitable for the corrupt people in the ministry which led to the identification of further people involved in the corruption forcing some of them flee while others were arrested. A source in the ministry speaking on the condition of anonymity said almost 90% of the individuals involved in the corruption have been dismissed from the ministry, either they have been arrested or they have been sacked from the ministry through the reform program. The source further added that a healthy environment is in power in the ministry, insisting that the other departments will have a similar environment if they say no to corruption and have a resolute stance against graft. The idea of affordable housing scheme was not available in the ministry before Mr. Naderi assumed charge of it and has taken further steps besides bringing the idea to the ministry. He brought key changes in the ministry, including the addition of the name ‘housing’ in it, establishment of housing department, and conclusion of memorandum of understandings with the foreign countries to bring the idea into reality. As a result, China has promised to start work on the construction of 10,000 affordable houses while Qatar has vowed to construct an additional 1,000 more units. His other achievements include creation of an atmosphere of unity in the urban sector which was suffering from unhealthy and irregular competition, enshrining of the ministry image and credit as key leader in urban sector, and largely rehabilitated the damaged trust of the people, entrepreneurs, foreign donors and international conventions. The persistent efforts by Mr. Naderi have led to the improvement of the works particularly of the incomplete projects which are due to be completed in the near future. Other milestones achieved are the reforms which are currently being implemented and the minister has promised that numerous development projects are on hand which will bring a considerable change in the sector of urban development and housing once they have been implemented.
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