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    Absenteeism rampant among Panjsher officials

    PARAKH (PAN): High-level officials, including directors of government departments, remain absent from their duty in central Panjsher province, shortening the work week to four days, residents complained on Tuesday.

    Due to the habitual and growing trend of absenteeism, most of offices stay closed on Thursdays and Saturdays when departmental heads and senior officials visit their families in the capital Kabul.

    “The issue arose the day Panjsher was upgraded to a province,” Jan Agha Amin, the labour and social affairs director, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The absence of directors and other high officials has created problems for residents, he acknowledged. 

    Gul Rahman Rahim, the monitoring commission head, said the panel was established to control absenteeism among government employees. Several officials had been warned and their salaries deducted, he said. 

    He recalled the justice department director was fired after he was found absent from his office on a number of occasions. Rahim admitted most officials at the appellant court, water supply department, tribal affairs, child correction centre, public works, Olympic department, Da Afghanistan Bank and rural development remained away from their offices.

    “We have repeatedly informed the departments through letters to resolve the issue, but so far no appropriate steps have been taken,” he added.

    Hamid Roshan, the governor’s spokesman, confirmed the problem, saying they intended to take comprehensive measures to resolve the issue. About the absentees in the governor’s office, he said the officials were assigned multiple tasks and had different duty timings.   

    He blamed 95 percent of senior officials for staying away from their offices, leaving their responsibilities to junior staff, who were not competent enough to address public complaints.

    Most of department heads and other officials link their absenteeism to lack of accommodation facilities in the province.

    Mullah Amir, a resident of Parian district, said he waited for two days in front of the appellant court to submit his case, but there was no one to help him. He would continue to wait until his case was investigated.

    Meanwhile, Ali Iftikhari, the labour and social affairs ministry spokesman, expressed his unawareness about the issue, promising that all possible measures would be taken to address the problem.