One smart move by the Rouhani administration would be to shift some of the supervisory functions over the performance of state institutions to the nongovernmental sector. This would allow civil society to be engaged and also reduce the likelihood of corruption in the performance assessments. In some fields, capable nongovernmental entities are already in place — such as the Society of Iranian Consulting Engineers.
In other sectors, the government has to create the legal and political space for nongovernmental organizations to take shape and engage in assessing the actual performance of state institutions. This is more relevant in those sectors where the goals relate to social or socio-economic phenomena, such as the creation of sustainable jobs or providing educational and cultural opportunities to various social and ethnic groups.
The fact remains that in Iran, with its very diverse and young society, it is impossible for the central government to develop satisfactory policies and approaches for all population groups. Decentralizing the decisions on how state allotments are utilized and introducing a PBB approach will help reduce the sense of injustice among the neglected segments of Iranian society while maximizing the benefits of the resources that are available.
There is no doubt that Iran’s structural deficiencies cannot be addressed through one single budget bill, but the abovementioned structural approaches can be the most significant instrument within the current legal and political realities to push back against administrative corruption.
Once the current budget bill becomes law, the government needs to make sure that the needed administrative and governance capacities are created to supervise the flow of funds based on real performance of various state and nonstate institutions. In the absence of the appropriate administrative structures and procedures, this very approach will also become a platform for corruption.