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HPC’s annual food budget amounts to 7.1mnafs

HPC’s annual food budget amounts to 7.1mnafs

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Jan 16, 2019 - 15:52

KABUL (Pajhwok): The High Peace Council (HPC) monthly expenses, including food for 72 people, employees’ salaries, fuel and other expenses work out at 26 million afghanis, Pajhwok Afghan News has reliably learnt.

The 72-member council was set up back in 2011 by the then president Hamid Karzai in an attempt to make peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

The peace body has spent a huge amount of money since its inception without achieving substantial results in terms of peace, as the war has become even deadlier.

However, the massive spending by HPC continues. More than 300 million afghanis are spent annually on facilities for the peace council, whose performance continues to be far from satisfactory.

Food Budget

According to HPC figures available to Pajhwok Afghan News, 7.1 million afghanis are paid in food budget to the 72-member peace body, including its head and his deputies.

Most of this budget is consumed by Mohammad KarimKhalili, the HPC head, and Mohammad AkramKhpalwak, the council’s former secretary.

It is worth mentioning that Umar Daudzai replaced Khpalwak as HPC secretary last month.

The meal budget of the HPC head is over 478,000 afghanis and the secretary’s is nearly 458,000. An amount of 41,000 afghanis has been spent by 43 members of the peace body.

SaifuddinSaihoun, teacher and expert of economic affairs, termed the allocation of huge amount of money for HPC-members and specially to its head as unjust and added the allocation of massive funds within the system was dangerous for institutionalization.

He said this referred back to the institutions which approved the budget of the HPC.

Saihoun added it should answer that on the bases of what standards massive amount of money was being paid to the HPC.

The HPC budget is funded from the foreign aid.

Getting this money is shameful

Mohammad Maseh, the resident of Kart-i-Naw locality, referring to the meal budget of the HPC said: “It is shameful for the HPC members to get nearly half a million Afghanis as their meal budget at time when most of Afghanis lived under the line of poverty and some even could not found bread for eating.”

According to a report, 40 percent people in Afghanistan live under the line of poverty.

He said when the HPC head get nearly 500,000 as monthly meal budget the people of Afghanistan and this country would never get peace and stability.

While strongly criticizing the allocation of massive budget for HPC, He said all resources and privileges allocated for a specific group of people, and the government was using other people as burning wood.

Monthly officers’ salaries

A copy of the officers’ salaries sheet obtained by Pajhwok shows that more than 216 million Afghanis paid annually as salaries to more than 500 HPC workers including the head, five deputies, 18 executive team members and other members of the council.

According to an official of the HPC who wished to go unnamed, said that besides money for food services, head, five deputies, 18 executive team members and two other key figures of the council also received salaries while other members of the council did not receive their wages.

However, the source did not provide information about the amount of salaries of key HPC members, but said the amount of salaries paid to that figures were almost the same amount of money paid to ministers and their deputies.

A number of executive team members of the HPC also have other jobs outside the council and the government’s framework and receive salaries in addition of holding the council jobs, the official added.

According to Pajhwok findings, the highest monthly salaries of HPC workers begin from 213,000 Afghanis while the least salaries amounts to around 18,000 Afghanis, the salary that most of the council workers receive. Only one person in the HPC has 14,000 Afghanis or least amount as monthly salary.

The least monthly salary of a government officer is 6,500 Afghanis to 7,500 Afghanis while the salary of a cleaner in the HPC is 18,000 Afghanis.

The amount of money used for the HPC workers’ food services equal to the salaries of a thousand junior government officers.

Around 40 percent of qualified people including educated people are jobless in Afghanistan and if high expenditures controlled it can help pave job opportunities for a large number of jobless persons.

SaifuddinSaihoon, an economist, talking about the high salaries and expenditures, said that huge amount of money were paid to individuals not only in HPC but in the presidential palace, Office of the Chief Executive and some other institutes under advisors and other names.

He said that the salaries distribution process was very unjust and the government was unable to determine a specific standard for wages.

High salaries are paid based on senior officials relations with other senior figures such as foreigners or the president and there is no any determination about wages, he said.

He added that the government and donors were responsible for measuring and reviewing expenses used for so called peace efforts whether the expenses were effective or not.

If these expenses have no any efficacy in the HPC then the council should be closed and the money should be used in other important parts, Saihoon added.

Poor performance and unwillingness of the HPC for establishing peace in the country caused neighbor countries and the region take control of the key for peace and the HPC play only a symbolic role, he said.

Vehicles’ fuel costs

Pajhwok found that more than seven million Afghanis cost the fuel expenses of 59 vehicles of the HPC in a month. Only three vehicles of theHPC head spend 37,000 Afghanis for fuel and the same amount of money spent for the fuel of secretary of the council in a month.

Saihoon said, “When I see around 500,000 Afghanis are spend only for food of the HPC head and some members, I think they spend little for their vehicles fuel.

He said that peace and stability would not come to Afghanistan when fuel of an accompanying vehicle of head of an office cost more than the salary of a government officer.

Head, members and secretariat of the HPC should give up their salaries

GulRahmanQazi, a political and legal expert, said that if the money used in the HPC was spent in infrastructural areas would had brought developments for people and created jobs for thousands of youths.

Creation of the HPC was a good news for many people; some people thought positive when credible figures appeared in the council but later it cleared it was a project that did not help anything, he added.

Qazi said that many people later tried to engage in the process in order to gain privileges and forgot about their real mission of bringing peace.

He added that peace would not come without sacrifices and head, members and secretary of the council should give up their materialistic privileges for peace in the country.

“Giving up privileges can make the HPC independent and more trustful and the militants would also trust it,” he said.

Pajhwok frequently tried to contact the HPC for its comments about some questions, but no one there responded.

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