KABUL (Pajhwok): Salaries of 3,351 employees of the Citizens Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP) have not been paid for five months.
The unpaid employees say the World Bank, the program sponsor, has money in bank accounts belonging to the Ministry of Finance and the government should find a solution to the salary issue.
CCAP is an inter-ministerial program of the government that started in 2016. The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development at that time had said through the ten-year program, school buildings, roads, dams, water reservoirs and retaining walls and other similar projects will be carried out with the help of village development councils.
Syed Nasir Sadat, in charge of monitoring and evaluation of the program of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Eastern Zone, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 3351 employees of the program had not received their salaries for five months.
Speaking on behalf of other employees, he said the World Bank financially supported the program and contracts had been signed with employees until the last month of 1400 solar year.
He added after the previous government collapsed on August 15, 2021, the employees did not go to work for a few weeks, but later they were called back to their work.
Sadat said after the contracts expired, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development asked more than 3,000 CCAP employees not to attend work until the fate of the program was determined.
According to him, these employees have not received their salaries for five months of 1400 solar year and are faced with severe economic hardships.
He claimed up to 173 million afghanis existed in the bank account of the World Bank for the program in Da Afghanistan Bank.
Sadat said they had repeatedly raised their voices to find solution to the salary issue but their calls fell on deaf ears.
He said the ministries of rural development and finance in coordination should determine the fate of the remaining unfinished works of the project and salaries of the employees.
Mohammad Fahim Kamal, a representative of CCAP employees in Kabul, also made similar complaints and said their five months’ salary remained unpaid and the government should find a solution to the issue.
“God knows my situation. The ministries of rural development, agriculture and finance are aware that we have worked in the World Bank project. There is money in the bank, so why our salaries are not paid?”
Without giving details, he said that the salaries of the employees ranged from 10,000 afghanis to 250,000 afghanis.
Out of the 3351 employees, the Ministry of Rural Development has called four people to complete some of the administrative work of the project, and they daily arrive at their job.
One of them, Mohammad Wali Azizi told Pajhwok that the Ministry of Rural Development had made many efforts in coordination with the Ministry of Finance to solve the problem of salaries of the employees, but its efforts were yet to yield any result.
According to him, the Ministry of Rural Development and its employees have shared the problem with the World Bank several times after the regime change, but the bank did not respond.
Azizi said it was being said that the World Bank was opening a branch in Afghanistan and if it happened, then the problem of salaries of the employees will also be solved.
Ministry of Finance spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal acknowledged the salaries of the mentioned persons had not been paid and there was money in the special accounts of the World Bank.
“But this money is not related to the government budget and the ministry cannot use it without permission.”
“We are waiting for the donors (financiers)’s permission to use this money. If we use it on our own and tomorrow these donors return to Afghanistan to resume their work, then they may fine us, so we cannot use this money until they give us permission.”
Haqmal said the Ministry of Finance was trying to find a solution to the problem. Pajhwok shared the matter with the World Bank through an email, but the bank is yet to respond.
Pajhwok published a report earlier that 463 employees of projects related to the Asian Development Bank had not been paid for more than five months.