Transparency in aid utilisation underlined
KABUL (PAN): International aid pledged at the Tokyo conference would fail to benefit Afghanistan if patriotic and professional people were not recruited by the government in Kabul, a number of people said on Sunday.
The day-long conference in Tokyo, attended by representatives of more than 70 countries and global organisations, promised id="mce_marker"6 billion in aid to the impoverished country over the next four years.
From 2016 to 2018, the foreign ministry in Kabul says, Afghanistan will continue to receive international assistance. The Tokyo meeting has vowed financial support for the country until 2025.
As part of an understanding between Afghanistan and the world community, a mechanism will be evolved to ensure transparency in the use of foreign aid. However, the Afghans tend to be cynical about the utilisation of aid dollars.
Shakirullah, a student of the Nangarhar University, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the id="mce_marker"6 billion aid was a huge amount, if used judiciously. He regretted that most of the foreign assistance over the past decade had ended up in pockets of some individuals.
While calling for the appointment of professional people to spend the aid sensibly and transparently, the student suggested the creation of a joint commission to oversee the use of international assistance.
Similarly, a student of journalism at the Kabul University, Abdul Matin Ihsas, also urged the appointment of qualified individuals to eradicate pervasive corruption from government departments.
The Afghan government has asked the international community that 50 percent of the aid be spent through its annual budgets. Ihsas believed the idea would not work because patriotic Afghans were increasingly being sidelined.
He alleged foreign aid could not be spent in a transparent way over the past decade, as most of the assistance ended up in the hands of foreigners due to the absence of a proper monitoring system and corruption.
A resident of Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province, Suleman Sabawoon, alleged government departments were rife with corruption because honest people had never been appointed to key positions. He said Afghans were deeply concerned that any new aid would meet the fate it had in the past.
He suggested a proper mechanism be put in place to utilise foreign aid. “Efforts to counter corruption produced no results in the past because such a process remained confined to paper work,” he added.
In the western city of Herat, Abdul Qadir, a carpet trader, said Afghanistan would continue to face problems until administrative corruption was wiped out and eligible people appointed to key posts.
On the id="mce_marker"6 billion assistance to Afghanistan for the next four years, the trader said even a thousand billion dollars in aid would be of no use as long as administrative corruption existed.
In her address to the conference, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Afghan government was expected, as promised by President Karzai, to do away with graft in public sector and ensure good governance.
She said the future of Afghanistan belonged to its government and people and the country could economically prosper when the future of its democratic system was stable.
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