Regular Meeting of the Council of Ministers

Regular meeting of the Council of Ministers was held on Monday, January 2, 2017 under the chairmanship of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It began with recitation of verses from the holy Quran. The Chief Executive, in his opening remarks, said in these days, we had meetings with governors, provincial council members and elders of South-West provinces as well as Daikundi and Nuristan. During the meetings, problems in these provinces were discussed in details. The sectorial ministries and relevant institutions were directed to deal with problems of these provinces seriously.

About security concerns of Baghlan people, the Chief Executive said not only headquarters of army and armed forces will remain in Baghlan, but also security cordon will be developed in Pul-e Khumri, and the government, to ensure security in Baghlan, does not hesitate any kind of efforts.

The Chief Executive directed the Minister of State for Disaster Management and the relevant departments to carefully review donation to the families of martyrs and the injured and to take an urgent action in facilitating and accelerating donation to the eligible applicants.

Referring to security issues and the government’s programs in dealing with terrorists, the Chief Executive said, “The government has undertaken effective and efficient programs to fight terrorism and to ensure security.” The Chief Executive urged the people of Afghanistan to cooperate with the government and the armed forces on the one hand, and be assured of security and suppression of the enemies, on the other hand.

The Chief Executive directed all Ministries of the country to take urgent measures for implementation of unfinished projects and present a detailed report on the projects and relevant ministries’ actions at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

The Chief Executive also directed transportation problems to be addressed, and assigned the Ministry of Transport to talk with Kam Air Company to resume its flights to Helmand in order to solve Helmand people’s problem.

The Chief Executive assigned the Ministry of Public Welfare to take measures to solve the problems of cargo transportation unions.

Then, the Chief Executive enumerated the agenda of the meeting of the Council of Ministers as follows:

Security report, report on owners of cargo and passenger transportations’ complaints, Finance Ministry’s report on assigned board to address the problem of rent shops in Makruryans, proposal of the Ministry of Energy and Water on exemption from customs duty and tax payments for equipment of Herat’s solar power project, reviewing problems of women suffering from mental illness and their treatment locations, report on performances of ministries and government independent agencies on realization of the Council of Ministers’ decisions from April, 2016 until November 2016, and miscellaneous issues.

According to the agenda, officials of the Ministries of Defense and Interior reported on the security situation to the Council of Ministers. On their report, they said during the previous weeks, the enemies continued to their attacks and movements in different parts of the country and the armed forces acted on implementation of their plans and their planned operations. They called Shafaq operation successful for purging the enemies and noted of achievements of Shafaq operation. They emphasized in their report that enemies’ activities and operations have been frustrated in different parts of the country and they have suffered great losses and damages.

Security officials, in their speech, assured of the armed forces’ full readiness to defend the country. Praising the courage and sacrifices of the armed forces, the Council of Ministers announced the government's full support from the armed forces and directed that needs of the armed forces to be addressed urgently.

In this regard, the Chief Executive directed the Ministry of Interior to prevent extortion on highways of the country and terminate arbitrary actions as soon as possible.

According to the agenda, the Ministry of Transport reported on the problem of cargo and passenger transportation to the Council of Ministers. Deputy Minister of Transport in his report said, based on the Council of Ministers’ direction, a meeting was held with participation of ministries and government agencies as well as cargo and passenger unions and fully discussed their problems and demands. He added that the Council of Ministers clarified responsibilities of both sides and decided that both sides should fulfill their responsibilities to improve their service delivery.

Minister of Public Welfare also reported on this issue to the Council of Ministers and said they had meeting with members of Chamber of Commerce and unions and would take the necessary decisions on the basis of their recommendations, and the final report will be presented to the Council of Ministers.

The Council of Ministers directed that these meetings to be continued at the level of permanent committee to address the problem and take the necessary decisions and actions to solve the problems of cargo transportation, and the final report should be submitted to the Council of Ministers.

According to the agenda, Ministry of Finance presented report of the assigned board to address the problem of rental shops in Makruryans to the Council of Ministers.

The board, in its report emphasized that this problem has existed for many years and still shop owners are not ready to implement the decisions of the government and the courts. For the way out of this problem, different rentals were offered by the board and the Association of Artisans and Craftsmen along with the Supreme Court verdict.

The Council of Ministers decided that the assigned committee led by the Ministry of Finance presents its plan with a reasonable solution so that a final decision is taken in this regard. The Council of Ministers also decided that the Ministry of Justice should talk with the Supreme Court about its verdict that the issue should be resolved through the national procurement.

Then, Minister of Energy and Water presented the Ministry’s proposal about exemption from customs duty and tax payments for equipment of Herat’s solar power project that funded by Japan and called for removing customs duties by the Ministry of Finance. The Council of Ministers, after listening to the Ministry of Energy and Water’s report and the Ministry of Finance’s comment, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Energy and Water. The Council of Ministers directed the Ministry of Finance to deliver the materials in question without receiving the product to the Ministry of Energy and Water until the Ministry of Finance takes its final decision in this regard.

The Ministry of Public Health presented the proposal of the assigned committee on the problems of women suffering from mental illnesses and their treatment places to the CMs. The proposal was developed in 21 articles under the title of “Strategic Plan to address Women’s Mental Illness to improve the status of women” that was presented to the Council of Ministers.

The Council of Ministers, after discussions, approved the proposal and decided that the proposal be implemented in coordination and cooperation with the Ministries of Higher Education, Labor and Social Affairs and Women's Affairs.

Then, according to the agenda, the head of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers reported on performances of ministries and independent agencies for realization of decisions (approvals) of the Council of Ministers from April, 2016 until November 2016. In his report, head of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers said during the past eight months, the Council of Ministers held 14 meetings during which 144 decisions were taken including 695 tasks. Approvals were submitted to ministries and independent agencies to be implemented on due time.

Mr. Arsalai added according to the received reports including decisions and tasks, 504 tasks have been run by ministries and other departments and 59 tasks are ongoing and from realization of 132 assigned tasks, no reports have been received, so the agency considers them as unimplemented.

Mr. Arsalai said that 73% of decisions and tasks have been implemented and 8% are ongoing and 19% have not implemented yet. He asked the Council of Ministers to direct the relevant ministries for the implementation of decisions and approvals. After discussion, the Council of Ministers directed that ministries and independent agencies should cooperate with the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers for pursuit and implementation of decisions and submit their report to the agency.

In miscellaneous part, the Chief Executive raised demands of representatives of some provinces and directed the Ministers to consider these issues seriously. Referring to activation of Master's level at Herat’s university and shortage of posts in education of the province, the Chief Executive directed the Ministries of Higher Education, Finance and Education to deal with this problem. The Chief Executive also directed the Ministry of Communication to pay attention to the differences of frequencies of local and international TV in Herat province and solve the problem through commission comprising of Ministries of Communication, Culture and Finance. The Chief Executive directed that a committee be formed by the Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of Herat airport.

The Chief Executive also directed the Ministry of Finance that according to Zabul people’s request, create Customs Office in an area where security is provided by the government. The Chief Executive also directed Local Governance to deal with the problem of Zabul municipality as quickly as possible.

The Chief Executive directed the Ministry of Public Welfare to put the completion of Farah road, half of which was constructed by the Islamic Republic of Iran but it was stopped, on its priority. The Minister of Public Welfare assured that completion of Farah road has been considered in 1396 budget and its work, after the process will begin.

The Chief Executive directed the Minister of State for Disaster Management to deal seriously with the problem of displaced people and refugees in the provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand. The Chief Executive directed Mr. Barmak to assess the implementation of donation for martyrs with participation of the Chief Staff of the Office of the Chief Executive and Secretariat of the Council of Ministers and offer its report to the Chief Executive.

The Chief Executive tasked the Ministry of Higher Education to pay attention to reconstruction of Helmand University and assure the Council of Ministers of it. The Chief Executive also directed the Ministry of Public Health to assess building a new hospital in Helmand. The Chief Executive also instructed the Ministry of Finance to act for providing fund for cleaning Nimroz River.

The Chief Executive tasked the Ministry of Commerce to assess the ground for making an industrial park in Istalef, based on people's request, and report on that to the Council of Ministers.

In miscellaneous part, Ustad Mohammad Mohaqeq, second deputy to the Chief Executive expressed his concern about religious and sectarian controversy in Herat and called for taking serious action in this regard. The Chief Executive directed Mr. Sediqi, acting head of local governance to talk to governor of Herat in order for any kind of sectarianism and sedition be prevented with cooperation of Ulema and provincial council.

Acting Minister of Education called for increasing the amount of subsistence for students of government dormitories. The Chief Executive directed the Ministry of Finance and Public Health to submit their comments to the Council of Ministers, in order for a decision to be taken in the light of them.

In miscellaneous part, Acting Minister of Culture noted of the opening cricket field in Khost which widely welcomed by Khost people.

He asked the Chief Executive to give the necessary direction for providing funds to the Afghan Cricket Board. The Chief Executive, while congratulated opening of the cricket field, directed the Ministry of Finance to take action in this regard after consultation and review.