Iraq Revenue Watch Criticizes Lack of Transparency in Reconstruction Contracts and Budget
September 9, 2003
OSI’s Iraq Revenue Watch has issued two new reports that criticize U.S. administrators for failing to prioritize transparency in the reconstruction of Iraq and the management of its public finances.
One report, Iraq’s Reconstruction Contracts: Telecommunications, analyzes the potentially lucrative contract that will be awarded by Iraq’s Coalition Authority to provide wireless telephone service in Iraq—a key step toward improving overall access to vital communications services. The report highlights concerns about the fairness and openness of the contracting process and urges U.S. administrators to include Iraqis at every step (and not to favor U.S. companies). The report also provides recommendations on how to improve the transparency of future contracts.
The second Iraq Revenue Watch report, Iraq’s First Public Budget, provides an unprecedented in-depth analysis of the Iraqi budget unveiled by U.S. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer in July 2003. The report highlights the absence of accountability in the $6.1 billion budget, the announcement of which was a huge step in a country that for many years kept budgets secret and made it a crime to reveal them. In recommendations as to how to improve the budgetary process in 2004, the report calls for greater inclusion of Iraqis in the budgetary process, transparency of the Development Fund for Iraq, the publication of the Program Review Board minutes, and the elimination of off-budget funds.