The Kurdish Globe
By Mohammed Tahir
"Bring your ID, citizenship certificate, food ration card, residency support letter.. from this room to that room.. from the accountant to the manager -- from getting stamps to signatures.. go and come back tomorrow, or maybe the day after'" this is the way things are done in the government institutions and how the paperwork needs of the people is processed on a daily basis all around the Kurdish Region.
Dr. Heja Badirkhan, a university professor that specializes in administration and management, argues that even without all these complications, these paperworks can be processed.
Badirkhan attended the "Good Governance and Economic Development" conference organized by the Kurdistan Institute for Research and Development (KIRD) at the Erbil International Hotel on June 1st and 2nd.
He believes that good governance cannot be achieved until management is considered as a profession.
The majority of the managers and directors in the government institutions, according to Badirkhan, are not specialized in management and learn from their mistakes, while most of them think they are the best skilled and seldom attach any importance to their employees.
This mentality, according to this expert, has been brought to this country by the British military system of the 1920s.
"In this system when an employee shares an idea, his manager would tell him "this is not your problem, go and do your job'," Badirkhan told the Globe.
Overlooking and disregarding employees, according to Badirkhan, kills the innovation and enthusiasm inside of them, and eventually the employees also underestimate the people and behave with them as if they are indebted to him.
When an institution is established the aim is to provide better services to the public but ironically, people prefer to go anywhere but to such institutions.
"This routine cannot be solved through increasing service staff," Badirkhan told the Globe. "Something that could be done by 3 people will now go through 11 people."
The developed countries have solved this issue by using information technology, and the university professor argues that the KRG could also eradicate these issues by implementing such technologies.
"In essence people don't need to visit government institutions and take all those documentations with them, as most of these could be done online. When someone is applying for a driving license, he can, instead of taking a bunch of documents and going to the traffic police offices where one cannot breath, apply online and provide all the required information and documentation either via internet or post, and just be physically present at the office for the tests."
Another factor behind lack of enthusiasm among public servants is the monitoring and evaluation of employees.
Appraisals are not conducted in a way that a manager rewards one employee and punishes the other based on his mood and personal assessments,' argues Badirkhan. "Employee evaluation should be done based on job descriptions, which defines all the functions in an institution as well as the rights and duties of each employee. If the performance of an employee is not satisfactory based on this standard, he should not be immediately punished, but rather should be put on a training scheme to improve his skills."
He also added that when an employee is hired by the government, not only he is not informed about his rights and responsibilities, but also majority of the institutions in the region don't have a job description for their employees.
Badirkhan argues that developing job descriptions is the responsibility of the Service Committee, which despite the approval of its law, has not yet been established.
The committee should consider all the public institutions and know how many employees they have, where there is an excess, where there is a deficiency, what their skill level is and what the target level is.
Badirkhan reiterated the urgent need for the establishment of this committee, but he also argues that its members should be assigned based on skills, expertise and enthusiasm rather than affiliation to a specific political party.
He added that if employment is not done through the Service Committee, the institutions will not only fail to get rid of these problems, but will face even more complications and troubles in the future.