Due to pressure from the World Bank and some other foreigners, President Ghani endorsed the Law on Public-Private Partnership through a legislative decree about three weeks ago, but the law, according to jurists, doesn’t accord with Afghan context, and paves the ground for land usurpation.
Some well-placed sources revealed to The Heart of Asia that President Ghani had opposed the law, but capitulated to the pressure of World Bank after two years by endorsing the law three weeks back. The World Bank had even warned the president of halting its assistance to Afghanistan and limiting its activities in the country if the law was not endorsed, the sources added.
Stressing that the public-private partnership has not proved useful and effective in most of the third world countries, and would also not come in handy in Afghanistan, Abdul Wahid Rezwanzai, a legal expert, told The Heart of Asia, “As per the Law on Public-Private Partnership, the government should provide its properties and land to companies and individuals for a period of 20 to 30 years so that they can utilize them for delivering services such as building hospitals, schools or factories.”
According to him, reclaiming the properties or land from companies and individuals after the given period in a country like Afghanistan where the central government was weak did not seem practical, adding that the initiative has failed in all third world countries, including Afghanistan, due to weak governments.
There had been many other instances which could create hindrance for the government during its weakness, the expert uttered, believing that the law was defective as it lacked provisions to protect the interests of people and the private sector, prevent the misuse of state-owned properties, and monitor the private sector.
Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers also acknowledged that the president endorsed the law thanks to pressures from donor institutions.
Aryan Yoon, a female lawmaker, told The Heart of Asia, “The president was impelled to sign the law since he cannot stand out against the demands of foreigners.”
With enforcement of the law, the government would lose hundreds of thousands of jeribs of its land given the strength of individuals with power and wealth in Afghanistan, Yoon estimated.
Another very key issue with the law is that it has not been passed by Wolesi Jirga (lower house) because it was enforced through a presidential legislative decree.