By Mustafa Habib.
In a country like Iraq, where most careers come courtesy of the government, its not what you know, but who you know – or how much you're willing to pay. The Federal Public Service Council was supposed to change this by acting as the government's independent recruitment agency. But now it seems it will be just another “independent” body handicapped by Iraqi politics.
The Iraqi government is still one of the major employers in the country. Perhaps this is hardly surprising in an economy where most of the money comes from oil revenues and these are administered by the government. As a result, government jobs are widely sought after.
However, if they don't have some kind of connection to the employer already in the government job or money to bribe them with, ordinary people can find it difficult to get a position in the civil service, no matter how well qualified they are. And this applies to university graduates as well as the average unemployed, unqualified individual. Additionally government jobs, whether in the military or civilian service, are often sold to the highest bidder by brokers or by influential members of political parties.
The so-called Federal Public Service Council is supposed to solve this problem, at least partially. Article 104 of Iraq's Constitution says that: “A council named the Federal Public Service Council shall be established and shall regulate the affairs of the federal public service, including the appointment and promotion. A law shall regulate its formations and competencies.” It's aim is to raise the level of public office and provide equal opportunities.