UK provides €4.3m for roads’ repairs (Video)
KABUL (PAN): The United Kingdom on Monday agreed to provide 4.3 million pound (352 million afghanis) in aid for the maintenance of roads across Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.
An agreement to the effect was inked between the Ministry of Public Works, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Kabul.
The assistance will be used through UNOPS for repairing roads and enhancing the capacity of public works ministry employees from February 2013 to 2016.
Addressing a news conference in Kabul, Public Works Minister Eng. Najibullah Awjan acknowledged Britain’s active role in the reconstruction of roads in Afghanistan.
He said the road network maintenance the ministry’s basic responsibility that was paid inadequate attention in the past. Heavily loaded vehicles were the main cause of roads’ destruction, he said.
"Our assessment shows all asphalted roads in the country account for $8 billion. Unfortunately, we’ve lost $3 billion of it -- a huge damage to the country," he remarked.
The Kabul-Jalalabad, Kabul-Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul-Kandahar roads had been damaged over the past few years due to heavily-loaded vehicles, the minister explained.
"Carrying more than permissible loads and unauthorised use of roads will be considered damage to national assets and the individuals found guilty of violating this rule will be punished," he warned.
Awjan said the new transit system had enhanced the ministry's annual revenue-generating capacity from $5 million to $60 million.
Experience showed that maintenance of roads was less expensive than building them, DFID head Mark Mallalieu remarked. He said his country would donate 178 million pounds to Afghanistan as part of the commitments it had held out last year’s Tokyo conference.