We can’t build Afghanistan through begging: Ghani
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said he personally interviewed and appointed 21 mayors for their commitment and mentality to develop the country through hard work, not through begging for foreign aid.
Addressing the second conference of mayors at the Presidential Palace here, Ghani said the 21 mayors were appointed based on their education, experience and merit.
“Your viewpoint is clear and independent, you know your every city is a hidden treasure, your mentality I know it is not the mentality of begging, but of progress, we have tired of begging, Afghanistan cannot be rebuilt by begging,” Ghani told the conference.
“You have enough experience and capacity to serve your people, you are now an active network, Afghanistan cities’ voice could not be heard in the past because mayors did not have full ownership of their cities,” Ghani said.
The president said improper municipality system harmed citizens and people wanted positive changes from mayors and their effective services.
Ghani said 70 percent of buildings and areas in Kabul city were unplanned which represented the government’s failure. A city needed its limits and plan, he added.
“you are responsible for the urban sector and you should serve urban residents, if there are no services then why people should pay their taxes, people pay taxes when they are paid back in form of development of their cities,” the president added.
Calling mayors a bridge connecting people and the government, he said the mayors should win people’s trust because it could help them implement their plans successfully.
Herat mayor Farhad Neyayesh, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, asked the president to approve the municipalities law as soon as possible so they could manage their affairs based on it.
Calling arbitrary constructed buildings and land grabbing as part of municipalities’ problems, he said security organs should support the mayors in enforcing the law on powerful individuals.
Nayayesh said late allocation of budge for municipalities was another matter of concern. “Delay in budge allocation for municipalities creates problems for development projects,” he added.
Acting Kabul mayor, Abdullah Habibzai, said a draft strategic plan they had worked on would resolve all Kabul needs until 2030.
The plan focused on four main areas concerning urban good governance, including electronic-governance, capacity building, creating an urbanization culture and public awareness and fighting against corruption, he added.
Urban Development Minister Sayed Saadat Mansoor Naderi called the conference as effective and said such meetings could reduce challenges the mayors faced. He promised he would make efforts to cooperate with mayors in advancing their affairs.
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