A document leaked to media shows that the Immunity and Privileges Commission of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, has requested government to increase the privileges of MPs and secretariat employees of the house.
The request was made in a letter to the administrative board and the financial and budget commission of the house. If the suggestion is approved, MPs privileges will be doubled.
The letter says that the following privileges should be added to MPs privileges:
• Phone credits: currently 5,000 AFs, should be increased to 10,000 AFs
• Vehicle fuel: currently 10,000 AFs, should be increased to 20,000 AFs
• House rents: currently 25,000 AFs, should be increased to 50,000 AFs
• 2,500 AFs should be added to the privileges of assistants, drivers and bodyguards of MPs
• From 5,000 AFs up to 25,000 AFs should be added to secretariat employees’ privileges
• From 2,000 AFs up to 4,000 AFs should be added to the personnel security privileges
The above-mentioned figures are part of the suggestions suggested by the Immunity and Privileges Commission for MPs.
MP Ramazan Bashardost, who is also a member of parliament’s Immunity and Privileges Commission, has rejected the suggestion and at the bottom of the letter has written: ‘they (MPs) will never be convinced.’
Meanwhile, some MPs said they are not aware of letter adding that it is not a good move in the current circumstances.
“Considering the economic situation and current crisis in the country, we do not support these privileges,” MP Mahmoud Khan Sulaimankhil said.
“We have not come here, and the people have not sent us here to change the principle of internal duties in our favor to receive more privileges,” MP Abdul Rauf Aname said.
Increasing the number of assistants, drivers and bodyguards to MPs and adding four projects, of which one is the establishment of an administrative office for parliament and senate secretariat, are also mentioned in the leaked letter.
“In fact, it will be a treason against the national interests. We have lots of challenges and that we should think in the national interest, not personally,” Mohammad Asif Sediqqi, second deputy speaker of senate said.
Reports indicate that the letter has not been processed and finalized, but if it is approved, millions of Afghanis will be added to MPs privileges in one fiscal year.