Kandahar, Central Govt Clash Over Development Budget

News - Afghanistan

Provincial officials in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province claimed Saturday that they did not receive the development budget for the current Persian year 1391 (March 2012-March 2013), despite significant problems in the development sector.

Governor Toryalai Wesa criticised the central government saying that despite $35 million being allocated towards development in the province, Kandahar never received the funds.

"The progress we have made in Kandahar province are because of the municipality incomes, donors aid and traders funds," Wesa said, adding that no project was funded from the national budget.

However, the Ministry of Finance said it was the lack of professional capacity in Kandahar and several other provinces that had stopped some provinces from receiving allocated funds.

"We don't pay cash to provinces," Finance Ministry Spokesman Wahidullah Tawhidi told TOLOnews. "According to laws, they should make their programs in conjunction with companies and after that we pay the money to the contractors [behind the programs]. But still no programs were sent to us," Tawhidi said.

Wesa dismissed these comments.

"We have the capacity and we are not short of programs. So why is the central government unresponsive toward us? I don't know," he said.

The Kandahar provincial government complaint follows residents previously expressing concerns about the lack of power and roads in the province, saying that residents have access to power around only two to three hours per day.

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