Kunduz municipality has a population of about 300,000 citizens, all of whom need access to municipal services, whether to obtain a business license, to pay property taxes, or other vital services.
In the past, the municipal services were often time consuming and prone to corruption. Systems were slow and customer care was poor. This made people’s lives difficult, and led to loss of revenue for businesses, as they had to wait to get permissions needed to operate.
“Part of the problem was that when we needed a municipal service we had to go to different offices,” says Ehsanullah, a municipal client. For many citizens like him, running from one office to another in search of a stamp or a signature led to frustration and contributed to reduced municipal revenues.
Today, however, the service delivery has improved in Kunduz. A new Citizen Service Centre (CSC) and Mobile Citizen Service Center, which provide efficient and transparent stationary and mobile services throughout the city, have been built with the support of UNDP's Local Governance project (LoGo).
Four CSCs are already operational in Bamyan, Nili, Kunduz and Mohammad Raqi. UNDP plans to build 6 more CSCs in Aqcha, Balkh, Khost, Zaranj, Qarabagh and Bazarak.
"It takes just 10 minutes to get what you want."
The Citizen Service Centre is a one-stop shop for citizens to access government services. Here, transactions that used to take days can now be completed in minutes. UNDP-trained government staff are on hand to give advice, and a host of services can be accessed in one clean, convenient place. By responding to citizen’s needs and by providing general information about municipal services, these centres help bridge the gap between citizens and the municipality that serves them.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen such a well-equipped centre in Afghanistan.” said Kunduz Governor, Abdul Jabar Naeimy, on the day of the inauguration of the building.
Ehsanullah agrees: “Now all the services are in one place, and it takes just 10 minutes to get what you want.”
The centres will ensure access to municipal services such as payment of property tax (safaye), obtaining business licenses, certification of documents, submission of petitions, information sharing, and more. Services provided by the centres will help promote government accountability and ensure equitable access to municipal services.
Citizens who are unable to visit the Citizen Service Centre can access municipal services through Mobile Citizen Service Centres - well-equipped vehicles that provide on the move municipal services, such as public service information, business permits, and complaint registrations across the city. The M-CSCs bring municipal services closer to citizens, and by doing so makes the government more equitable and responsive.
“People no longer have to hunt for services they need,” says Kunduz Mayor, Farid Ahmad Fazly. “The services go and find them where they live!”