KABUL (Pajhwok): Some sources say the Asian Development Bank (ADB) defaults on paying salaries amounting to $4.4 million to its 463 personnel working on various projects in collaboration with three Afghan ministries.
This comes as sources say ADB has $8.8 million in Da Afghanistan Bank for the projects, but the Ministry of Finance says that it cannot use the money without the permission of ADB.
ADB funded projects are being executed under the auspices of the ministries of rural rehabilitation and development, water and energy, and agriculture and people who did not receive their salaries, worked in these projects until the end of December last year.
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
A reliable source in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), who did not want to be named, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 64 workers of the ministry were involved in ADB projects in July, August, September, October and November last year, but their salaries which totaled $226,000 remained unpaid.
The source said that ADB has more than $258,544 in Da Afghanistan Bank for the operational portion of the ministry’s projects and salaries.
Ministry of Water and Energy
The source, speaking on behalf of 463 personnel working in ADB projects with three ministries, said that 176 workers of ADB projects under water and energy ministry were unpaid.
The total amount of salaries for five months of these workers amount to $872,705 which is not paid, the source added, saying these people worked in WRDIP T2, PARBP and AIWRDP water resources development projects.
According a list given to Pajhwok by the source, Da Afghanistan Bank has $3,104,613 in seven different bank accounts for the implementation of ADB projects under the Ministry of Water and Energy.
A source in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) also said that the salaries of 223 workers of ADB projects were not paid.
The source said that the unpaid salaries for five months of the workers amounted to $1,390,815.
The salaries of the employees of the consulting companies for ADB projects under MAIL which amounts to over $2 million also remained unpaid, the source added.
According to the source, the bank has more than $5.4 million in Da Afghanistan Bank for the ministry’s projects.
On behalf of the employees, a worker of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) said they had talked to Da Afghanistan Bank officials and the bank officials assured them that they had ADB money.
He said Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad NazirKabiri had also promised to pay their salaries and had appointed an adviser to the ministry to assess and resolve the issue.
He also said that they had discussed the matter with the ADB and claimed that the bank had assured them to pay the salaries but the Ministry of Finance was not taking action on the regard.
This comes as some former workers of ADB projects in a protest rally in Kabul last week said that the bank had not paid their salaries for seven months and that their fate was unknown.
Pajhwok shared the matter with Ahmad WaliHaqmal, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, but without elaborating, he said that besides the workers of ADB projects, a number of people who worked in World Bank projects also did not receive their salaries.
“We are in contact with both, the ADB and WB and hope that soon both of the banks will at least complete their incomplete projects, we cannot distribute the money in our accounts until the two banks permit it, we have requested several times for written permit to use the money, but we are yet to receive the permit,” he said.
Haqmal said the finance ministry was trying to call back the banks to resume their activities in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for ADB told Pajhwok that workers for their projects were directly employed by the Afghan government and they were not involved in the process.
In an email to Pajhwok, ADB spokesman said, “The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to the people of Afghanistan; the bank has approved $405 million in food security and educational services’ assistance to the Afghan people in January, the aid is directly implemented by UN.”
Without commenting about the unpaid salaries of people worked in ADB projects, the source said that the international community is continuing to assess the situation in Afghanistan and the bank also continued its assistance with the country beyond August 15 last year.