Pardinas: a historic opportunity. Pardinas: a historic opportunity.

For transparency, opportunity knocks

Government urged to employ technology to follow the money allocated for earthquake aid

Reconstruction in the aftermath of the September earthquakes has presented the Mexican government with a unique chance to strengthen accountability and transparency in the spending of public funds.

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So proposed Juan Pardinas Carpizo, the director general of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, or Imco, an organization that has been active in encouraging transparency in government.

“There is a historic opportunity to make use of technological resources to build trust and strengthen the accountability of the money destined for reconstruction,” he told a press conference.

The technological advances suggested by Pardinas include following up on bank transactions and georeferenced data.

” . . . You can follow up on all movements on a given account . . . learning in real time how the money is being spent. This technology could be used for the reconstruction fund.”

Likewise, with georeferenced data, a simple database can be populated with information from the dwellings in need of reconstruction, including the names of the owners and the families that live in them and the exact amount of construction materials needed. The database could also be used to provide homeowners with technical counseling further along.

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Such progress could be achieved by bridging the collective of large and small information technology firms with public and private investment, Pardinas said.

If the model were applied it could well set a precedent for the spending of public funds.

Pardinas said that without budgetary transparency there cannot be a thorough understanding of how the government is working or the challenges it faces. Such transparency and accountability would also shine a light on cases of embezzlement of public funds, because opaque budget allocations are the first place where the crime happens.

Last week, Finance Secretary José Antonio Meade said disaster relief funds would have GPS data attached.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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