Regular meeting of the Council of Ministers (Mar 13, 2017)

Regular meeting of the Council of Ministers today was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Sepidar palace.

In his preliminary remarks, Dr. Abdullah, condemning the terrorist attack in 400-bed hospital, said there is no human and Islamic criterion in the Taliban’s function. According to him, the Taliban is responsible for such attacks because they provide opportunity with other terrorists.

The Chief Executive tasked the Ministry of Urban Development to finish repair of the hospital as soon as possible in order for treatment of the sick and injured not be stopped. In this regard, Minister of Urban Development clarified that the basic repair of hospital has been finished and the hospital is now active.

Then, Dr. Abdullah pointed to the fight against polio and said that anti-polio campaign has reached a critical stage and the incidence of disease is approaching to zero, but its eradication needs the efforts of all those in charge.

The Chief Executive added, “Due to return of the Afghan Refugees, bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is very important and there is no obstacle for cooperation between the two countries.”

Referring to 8th of March, the Chief Executive expressed that national program for women’s empowerment is one of the three critical priorities of the National Unity Government and we are committed to implementing it as well.

In another part of his speech, the Chief Executive referred to Konkur Exam (entrance exam for universities) and said this year, using biometric system will guarantee transparency of the exam process. In this regard, the security forces are required to be impartial in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education.

Dr. Abdullah, referring to the elections, said leaders of the National Unity Government in coordination with international partners are trying to take the necessary measures to hold transparent and fair elections.

Then, the Chief Executive outlined the agenda of the meeting as follows:

1. Security report;

2. Report of budget consumption in fiscal year of 1395;

3. Report on work results and decisions of development committees in the provinces in the fourth quarter of 1395;

4 . Progress report of performances of ten committees on practical solutions to improve the business environment and global trade;

5. Proposal for amendment of Article III of the law on rights and privileges of survivors of the martyrs and missing persons as a result of war;

6. Report on the quality of petrol and diesel imported to the capital

Based on the agenda, Taj Mohammad Jahid, Interior Minister in his report said operation of security and defense forces to suppress and frustrate the enemy plans has been successful. According to him, security agencies are prepared to provide security and prevent terrorist activities in spring of the next year. In addition, Deputy Minister of National Defense reported on investigation progress about the suicide bombing in 400-bed hospital and its repair to the Council of Ministers.

Then, Mustafa Mastoor, Financial Deputy Minister of Finance reported on the national budget consumption until Pisces (Hoot) of 1395 divided by the ministries.

Mr. Mastoor presented proposals of the Ministry of Finance for removing challenges and problems of not consuming budget in the Ministries and called for attention of the National Unity Government leadership in this regard.

After listening to views of the participants, the Chief Executive emphasized, “All ministries are responsible for reporting on their problems for consuming budget and length of project transition in order for the solutions to be taken the necessary measures.”

Dr. Abdullah also directed Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) to coordinate with governors in order to cooperate with contractor company and the relevant authority for implementation of development projects.

Continuing with the agenda, Abdul Satar Murad, Minister of Economy reported on the work result of development committees and said that so far, 15 provinces have finalized draft of their three-year development plans. But there is no report on the result of meetings of this committee in other provinces.

He stressed that finalizing draft of three-year plans of provinces for timely implementation of development projects, recognition of priorities and needs of the people is very important for them to be included in Indian sustainable development projects as well as small ones.

After evaluating the issue, the Chief Executive assigned the Ministry of Economy and IDLG to review the problem in a joint video conference with governors of provinces and finalize it by the end of the current year.

According to the agenda, Eng. Mohammad Dawud, Deputy Water Sector of the Ministry of Energy and Water presented resolution of the National Conference on Water and Sustainable Development to the Council of Ministers. The members of the conference offered results of their discussion for sound management of water resources and efficient use of it in 36 articles to the National Unity Government leadership.

After investigating and listening to views of the members of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Abdullah instructed that the relevant ministries should make attempt for management of water resources and development of water diplomacy with respect to this resolution.

When ministers expressed concern about Salma dam, the Chief Executive tasked the Ministry of Energy and Water to send a qualified board to investigate problems of Salma dam and then report to the Council of Ministers.

According to the Agenda of the Council of Ministers, Homayun Rasa, Minister of Commerce and Industry reported on the work progress of ten committees to improve the business environment and global trade and said that so far, three committees have finalized their indicators and priorities. According to him, in case of a delay in the committees’ reporting, their priorities won’t be incorporated in the report of the World Bank.

The Chief Executive directed that the remaining committees should finalize results of their work by the end of this year and report it.

The Chief Executive also directed IDLG, Ministries of Finance, Justice, Commerce and Industry, Economy and Urban Development to discuss on applied mechanism for 11 priorities of private sector at a joint meeting and seek practical solutions.

According to the agenda, Dr. Abdul Basir Anwar, Minister of Justice presented proposed plan for amendment of Article III of the law on rights and privileges of survivors of the martyrs and missing persons as a result of war to the Council of Ministers and said based on decision of the Council of Ministers, the amount of 50 thousand Afghanis should be given to the heirs of the martyrs and missing persons but in the mentioned law it is considered 30 thousand Afghanis.

Minister of Justice said to solve this problem, amendment of Article III of this law is required.

Dr. Abdullah directed the Ministry of Justice to offer Article III of the Law on rights and privileges for survivors of the martyrs in Law Committee for amendment.

At the end, Naqibullah Fayeq, head of Afghan National Standards Authority (ANSA) said, “Based on decision of the Council of Ministers, this authority in coordination with Customs Mobile Care Team has examined quality of imported oil at the entrance gates of Kabul.” Then, he presented its detailed report to the Council of Ministers.

According to him, the oil transferred to Kabul from Herat, Nimroz and Farah is not high quality, but oil imported from Hairatan and Aqeena ports is standard.

Mr. Fayeq added that according to Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 4 million tons of oil is annually consumed in the country out of which only 1.3 million ton is imported legally.

He added that ANSA, in the current year, has rejected 35 million liters of low quality oil and recently has stopped 300 tankers containing substandard gas.

The Chief Executive tasked Afghan National Standards Authority (ANSA) to fully investigate the issue in coordination with the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and the Economy in order to take necessary measures to resolve the problem.

In the miscellaneous part, the Chief Executive directed the Foreign Ministry as well as Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to negotiate with Iranian authorities in order to regulate the Afghan workers’ permit in Iran.

The Council of Ministers decided to hold a joint meeting with presence of Ministers of Agriculture, Commerce, Foreign Affairs, IDLG, Kabul Municipality and Chambers of Commerce headed by the Chief Executive to assess the effects of blocking Pakistan’s borders over food stuff prices and seeking alternative solutions.