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SIGIR Finds $38 Million System Goes Unused
Iraqis Use Spreadsheets, Despite US-Financed Computerized Financial Accouting
10/25/2007 10:26 AM ET
The $38 million the US has invested to upgrade the Iraqi government's accounting to a computerized system has not produced a satisfying return.

The system has been so roundly ignored by the Iraqi Ministry of Finance that "nobody noticed" when it didn't work for a month and no one uses it to produce reports, according to the latest report from Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States had hoped to streamline the corrupt bureaucracy, but SIGIR said the system chosen showed a lack of understanding of Iraq's existing financial and business practices. For instance, the Iraqis refuse to stop using their paper spreadsheets. And thus, the new system has had little impact on Iraq's financial system.

But it's not just the Ministry of Finance. The latest SIGIR report damns almost every ministry, saying about half of all government employees don't show up on any given day, and those that do work only two or three hours ("for security reasons.")

SIGIR assessed the system based on five IMF recommended pre-conditions, and pinpointed problems with each one.

Read SIGIR's full interim review of the Iraqi government's new financial accounting system.



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