No problem in paying staff salaries: MoF
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Finance (MoF) faced no problem in giving monthly salaries to its employees because its revenue considerably increased last month, the Meshrano Jirga was informed on Sunday.
The clarification from Deputy Finance Minister Shafique Ahmad Qarizada comes a month after MoF officials warned if the electoral impasse continued, they would be unable to pay staff salaries.
Mohammaduddin Hamdard, who heads the upper house panel on budget and finance affairs, said the electoral crisis had resulted in decreased revenue, leaving many departments unable to pay salaries.
He said Afghanistan was pushed into deep economic trouble after some foreign countries suspended their aid owing to the deadlocked political process. However, Hamdard did not elaborate.
A lawmaker from southern Kandahar province, Mohammad Saleh Pahlawan, said revenues of customs departments had declined due to endemic corruption and as a result, many government officials had failed to receive their salaries.
Other lawmakers also expressed similar views, but none named a single department that had failed to pay staff salaries. However, Qarizada said the political and security transitions came the same year and thus had a negative impact on the economy.
He said the government had taken essential steps to prevent a financial crisis and had the potential to regularly pay employees’ salaries.
“We pay 6.5 billion afghanis in salaries to civil servants each month. We have been in trouble somehow for a few months but our revenue reached 8 billion afs last month,” the deputy minister said.
He said there had been no problem in giving salaries to members of security organs because their pay was funded through international assistance.
The Sept 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, the United Kingdom, had pledged $5.1 billion in annual aid to Afghan security forces until 2017.
Qarizada also rejected the impression that some foreign countries had suspended aid to Afghanistan, saying his ministry was in constant contact with foreign aid-giving nations in order to ensure in-time aid delivery.
To a question from a lawmaker about corruption at the Ministry of Finance, Qarizada said he would not rule out corruption, but efforts were ongoing to combat it.
He said not only the Ministry of Finance but other government entities were also rife with corruption and if lawmakers had evidence of graft in the ministry, they should it share with him.
The deputy finance minister also said they had prepared proposals for submission to the new government about how to boost revenue. He said the new government had been urged to include the ministry’s proposals in its 100-day plan.
Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said he had repeatedly heard from Finance Ministry officials about problems in giving salaries to government employees. “We have heard this from you and you should not give contradictory statements.”
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