$5b needed in 2015 to execute projects: Zakhilwal
KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan has sketched out several projects under 22 programmes to be presented at the July Tokyo Conference, the Finance Minister told the Wolesi Jirga on Tuesday, adding the country would require $5 billion (250 billion afs) in 2015 alone to implement the schemes.
At the international conference in Japan, the international community will discuss a funding mechanism for Afghanistan’s future development after 2014.
Finance Minister Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal, giving information to lawmakers on the conference, said his had finalised a comprehensive strategy for the aid to be announced by the international community in Tokyo.
The construction of 1400 kilometers of roads, 800km long railway lines and five international airports were some the projects to be launched after 2015, he said, adding basic motive behind the strategy was to help Afghanistan stand on its own feet until 2024.
“Almost 90 percent of our budget is provided by the international community in aid while only 10pc of the budget involves our own revenue, which will be revised gradually till 2025,” Zakhilwal added.
The country would be able to stand on its feet by 2025 with the new economic development strategy if the international community continued to fill the budget deficit, he said, hoping the world would accept and support their plan.
Later, addressing Senate parliamentary commissions’ heads, Zakhilwal said the Tokyo Summit was aimed at improving Afghanistan’s domestic revenues, explaining Afghanistan should be able to carry out 50 percent of development projects on its own by 2020.
Zakhilwal briefed the heads of economic, finance, agriculture and trade commissions of the upper house on the government’s economic policies after 2014 and replied to questions raised by the lawmakers.
How to balance imports and exports, stop flow of money abroad, ensure the supply of required electricity and other facilities to industries, prevent the privatisation of government entities and develop the agriculture sector, were some of the demands raised by the MPs with Zakhilwal at the meeting.
The minister said the Tokyo Summit, besides other issues, would also confer on how to use the assistance to be pledged for Afghanistan at the meeting. The Afghan government would call for most of the assistance to be used directly by it on projects being prioritized, he said.
Zakhilwal said a 20 percent of foreign aid was being used by the government and the rest by foreigners themselves without giving any importance to the projects the government was giving priority.
He said foreign aid should be used on projects that could create jobs for the unemployed, increase the country’s revenues and ensure a long-lasting development.
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