Paktika village councils awaiting funds for 3 years
SHARAN (PAN): The rural development department has delayed for the past three years the payment of 122 million afghanis to village development councils in 13 districts of southeastern Paktika province.
Village council members told Pajhwok Afghan News on Friday a number of projects had been executed in rural areas under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), but the officials concerned had been reluctant to release the funds.
One council head from Gayan district Sadat Khan said they had launched work on retaining walls in villages three years back. Some projects were almost complete while others had to be abandoned for want of funds, he complained.
He said the department refused to pay any money for the schemes that were funded by council members. But workers and shopkeepers had been asking them to clear their dues, he added.
Shamsur Rahman, an NGO chief for Zherok district, said 40 NSP-founded village councils were active in the town. The projects implemented by them had been delayed for years, he confirmed.
“Most of the schemes have been funded by council members and contractors. We have money in banks but payments have been delayed due to the NGO closure and other reasons,” he explained.
Shamsur Rahman revealed an amount of 60 million afghanis meant for the councils had been accounted for. However, he had no information about the missing funds.
But Paktika Provincial deputy chief, Fazlur Rahman Katawazi, linked the delay to efforts at ensuring financial accountability and transparency. The closure of Burke’s provincial office six months ago was one key reason, he said.
But NSP Director Eng. Javed Ahmad Hijrat rejected claims of payment delays for years. The programme ran into problems six months ago because of security and technical problems, he said.
“We have funds in banks and the payment issue has been addressed to some extent. The remaining council dues will be cleared in near future,” he promised.
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