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Education, health secretaries grilled on uplift spending

Education, health secretaries grilled on uplift spending

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Oct 09, 2017 - 18:13

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members were told on Monday that “lengthy procedure of procurement, lack of technical capacity, corruption and insecurity” prevented the healthinfo-icon and educationinfo-icon ministries from spending most of their development budget.

Education Secretary Syed Hameedullah and Health Secretary Ahmad Jan Naeem were summoned to the lower houses to answer lawmakers’ questions.

Some lawmakers said the Education Ministry had failed to implement uplift projects and had carried out some projects against principles and as a result, most of the students today studied under the open skies.

The Education Secretary acknowledged the ministry’s affairs had been at a slow pace. He said the ministry had spent $41 million from its $60 million uplift budget. Total development budget of the education ministry for the ongoing fiscal year was $155 million.

The secretary said the Education Ministry in the first nine months of the fiscal year spent 42 percent of its development budget.

He did not say anything about changes to development projects but acknowledged some projects had been restructured on the bases of need.

The transfer of construction projects from the Education Ministry to the Urban Development Ministry was a lengthy process which caused delay in implementation of projects, he added.

Dr. Ahmad Jan Naeem, the Public Health secretary, said 70 services projects and 45 construction projects were being implement by the ministry.

He said the Health Ministry was allocated $171 million uplift budget, of which 44 percent had been spent and 80 percent of the funds would be utilized until the end of the year.

He said the delay in procurement of contracts, land disputes and lack of capacity were main handicaps in execution of uplift projects of the ministry.

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the Public Health Ministry’s spending on uplift projects was satisfactory and hoped health services would improve in the country.

The speaker, however, expressed concern over the spending of the Education Ministry budget and said reasons presented by the education secretary in this regard were not satisfactory.

Ibrahimi asked the education ministry to work on development of its capacity so more attention was paid to the education sector.

nh/ma

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