Revenue Monitoring... Toward Which Future?

Source: Al-Aalem
Date: 28 Apr 2022

Revenue Monitoring is one of the important topics on the Iraqi scene today. I have worked in many companies and organizations, and I am aware that many local companies are not tracking their businesses financial revenues because they “leave it to God”. They see no need for financial reports or even financial planning, since this is likely to raise concern or attract envy. Government entities are not much different, in spite of the existence of an accounting system in place for many years now, the purpose of which was to clear the conscience of civil servants, and not control or evaluation. Very often this system is ignored, in ways and means known to everyone.

When Transparency International’s 2009 periodic report was issued, classifying states based on transparency levels, Iraq ranked 176th out of 180. This means that it is the 5th worst state among those covered by the report. In a positive reaction, the Iraqi government applied to join EITI. The EITI Board accepted Iraq (as a candidate) on February 10th 2010. The performance of the Iraqi government will be validated by February 2012, ensuring that it complies with minimum standards and fundamental principles of the EITI.

The Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) is working in the same direction, with the assistance and support of numerous actors, including CSOs and local unions, to contribute to monitoring the government’s performance in this aspect. The EITI requires that governments publish the details of contracts signed with foreign companies and financial reports. Foreign companies, in turn, are required to publish financial reports related to payments received. Then, reports published by both parties are subject to reconciliation by impartial international auditing entities and under local CSOs supervision.

Currently, many local Iraqi CSOs are working together to assume their share of the process. Will they be able to unveil the hidden? I do not wish to be optimistic, because governments like big companies have a long history of lack of transparency, and therefore are not bothered with accountability, because revealing revenues from oil and gas and other extractive industries exports will be essential in monitoring government spending and priorities. I do not wish either to be pessimistic, because implementing transparency principles is not impossible. It will be rewarding for everyone.

In my opinion, the next phase in Iraq will mainly depend on economic performance. The latter requires making way for individuals and enterprises having economic expertise, at both national and international levels. Experience has proven that the will of government officials is necessary to resort to experts for a better development. So far, no one knows about hidden intentions of decision-makers in Iraq, among political tensions which only reveal a wish to obtain more power and influence, in spite of hiding behind democracy slogans.

In my modest opinion, there is still an opportunity to build a developed Iraq, if intentions converge in one direction.

Adnan Mayyah

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