A number of civil society activists, members of the provincial council and local officials of Herat province on Sunday accused government of centralizing the allocation of the national budget adding that more authority should be given to local governments in this regard.
The activists and officials made the remarks at a meeting ‘Provincial Budgetary Dialogue’ in the province. The aim of the meeting was to identify key development projects for Herat province so as to include them in the provincial budget.
Delegates at the meeting also discussed issues around the delegation of authority over budget allocations from central government to local governments and prioritizing development projects in the province.
Some of the attendees said Herat was a large and populated province and that more money should be allocated to the province.
“Herat province has a population of over four million and unfortunately today the province is viewed as a province with two or even one million people,” Jawad Hussaini, an organizer of the meeting said.
“If authority is given to the provinces, it can play a vital role in bringing good changes in the lives of people and in decreasing corruption,” Ghulam Farooq Raseb, a civil society activist said.
Officials and activists attending the meeting also called for the implementation of projects that can address the prioritized needs of the people.
“I, as a representative of the people, am not happy with the budget that has been spent, because no significant changes have been brought in the lives of people,” Sakina Hussaini, a member of Herat provincial council said.
In the meantime, Herat economic department head Yunus Rahnaward said expenditure of the development budget in the province is encouraging adding that this year over 70 percent of the development budget was spent.
“Spending of the development budget in all departments is encouraging. We have the biggest portion of the budget for the infrastructure sector and this year the most money was spent in this sector,” said Rahnaward.
Herat province has a population of over four million people and is one of the provinces that falls in the grade A category. Residents of the province however have constantly criticized the central government for not allocating enough money for the development budget for the province.