Economy, Business And Markets

Akhoundi Rises to the Demand of Transparency

Akhoundi Rises to the  Demand of Transparency Akhoundi Rises to the  Demand of Transparency

Promoting transparency and openness is the first step toward fighting corruption, the minister of roads and urban development said Wednesday.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the" Fifth Exhibition of Roads, Urban Development and Associated Industries" , Abbas Akhoundi said the people are "pillars of the state" and called for promoting peoples' basic right of having access to information.

At the ceremony Akhoundi launched a new website his ministry called "Shahrah", a portmanteau of the two Persian words for "city" and "road". The platform is designed to directly convey the peoples' problems to the ministry's senior officials and requiring them to take quick action.

"So far, there has only been rhetoric about improving efficiency in the government. But I have decided to embark on the risky venture of making the ministry's data available to the masses."

Besides facilitating direct access to ministry data, the website will offer the people 569 types of services including booking tickets, transport services and urban and real estate services, 37 of which will be accessible in the first phase.

Akhoundi urged the government in its entirety to expand and promote transparency, which he said is a primary step toward efficient use of national resources.

"As politicians, we have always looked at the problems from top, but we better take a look through the eyes of the people to get a better understanding of and insight into the shortcomings and deficiencies," he was quoted as saying.

"Granting a bigger role to people demands a lot of money along with millions of hours of work by public-service employees," he noted.

Ending Trial and Error

The minister referred to the trust vote given him recently by the Majlis (Parliament) and thanked lawmakers for acknowledging his ministry's achievements.

Abbas Arami, spokesperson for Majlis Commission for urban affairs called for the formation of a joint committee by legislature and the Ministry of Roads to address legal issues in housing and transportation sectors and promoting efficiency in government affairs.

"There is no time for trial and error," he said, "ignoring housing and transportation sectors has had a negative impact on the development of the country," he told the meeting.

Akhundi was the third minister to face impeachment in Parliament since mid-2013, when the Rouhani administration assumed office.

Akhoundi has taken a series of measures to curb corruption in his ministry, which receives a large portion of the government annual budget. Objections against the Interior Ministry's interference in municipal affairs, reforms in Iran's Construction Engineering Organization's election and prohibiting retired employees of the ministry from working for construction-related related businesses are some the minister's better know measures.   

The Fifth Exhibition of Roads, Urban Development and Related Industries   is being held at Imam Khomeini Musalla in central Tehran and will run through Oct. 31.

More than 170 private construction and transport companies as well as the ministry's affiliated firms and organizations are participating.

Major companies affiliated to the Ministry of Roads include the Construction and Development of Transport Infrastructures Company, New Towns Organization, Urban Development and Revitalization Organization, Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization and the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Transportation Research Institute.