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Aviation minister-designate vows sovereign airspace

Aviation minister-designate vows sovereign airspace

Apr 15, 2015 - 17:17

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Ministers-designate for educationinfo-icon, public works, womeninfo-icon’s affairs and transport and civil aviation explained their future plans on Wednesday to lower house members.

The four were among 16 cabinet nominees President Ashraf Ghani had recently introduced to the parliament for a vote of confidence.

Explaining his plans, Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, the minister-designate for education, said the sector had many achievements in the last 14 years but some shortcomings remained.

He said there were still a lot of children, mostly girls, who could not go to school for several socio-economic reasons. He said he would pay special heed to the education of girls.

Standardising the education system, fighting administrative graft and building more schools would be among his priorities, said Balkhi. He promised to increase teachers’ wages and provide them with scholarship opportunities abroad if he wins a vote of trust from the house.

While, Dilbar Nazari, the women’s affairs minister-designate, said she would appoint highly capable and educated women on top positions in the ministry and would establish a research centre.

She would work to enable women to reach top posts in several government organs. Her other priorities would be seeking justice for women, and programmes that enhanced their abilities in all walks of life.

She added, after receiving the trust vote, she would also work to bring about changes to the lives of women suffering from abject poverty and in this regard, she would work out programmes in coordination with parliament.

The public works minister-designate, Mahmood Baligh, promised to create programmes for reforms and enhancing capabilities of the ministry’s employees.

“I will try to spend the ministry’s budget within the given deadline,” he said, adding that he would pay special heed to fighting corruption and promoting nascent railways in the country.

If endorsed, he would also work on developing and maintaining major highways and ring roads. “I will serve the entire country equally.”

Mohammadullah Batash, the transport and civil aviation minister-designate, said his top priority would be removing Afghanistaninfo-icon’s airlines from the European Union’s blacklist and controlling the country’s airspace.

“From zero to 16,000 feet the airspace is in our control and from 16,000 to 29,000 feet is controlled by international forces and above that is again in our own control. I would try through forming a committee to assume control of sovereign airspace,” he said.

He said Afghanistan currently charged each international flight $400 in tax and he would increase the amount if granted the trust vote.

Solving all problems currently faced by the national carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines, reactivating city transport buses and setting up a meteorological university would be his other priorities.

The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon announced that the minister-designate for information and culture, Abdul Bari Jehani, held dual citizenship and he would not be allowed to present his plans unless his American nationality was revoked.

The unity government is yet to introduce a candidate to head the Ministry of Defence and the parliament is yet to set in motion granting the trust vote to nominees who have already presented their plans.



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