At the same time, the country’s tax authority lacks a professional staff able on its own to manage collections and deliver service. Reason? Failure of civil service reform after 10 years and counting.
The average civil servant earns $200 to $300 per month and lacks rudimentary skills, qualifications and, worst of all, motivation. Wonder why a case manager waits forever for files to be retrieved for a meeting with a taxpayer? Those managing the file room are functionally illiterate. They cannot be fired. If you are the case manager and care, what do you do?
If Afghanistan can’t reform all of its government, reform some of it. Establish a stand-alone tax authority as a pilot program, allow advisers to manage the transition, offer current and new staff appointment for those who qualify based on a competitive exam, reward them with a market-based salary, and buy out the rest. My Afghan friend deserves that much honesty as do the donors who support us with money and good will. While Alice awoke to reality, we dream on.
William Cleary writes from Kabul. He has worked in 25 countries.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution