Greater support sought for social welfare plans

KABUL (Pajhwok): A former minister on Sunday urged President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to keep sustained focus on social welfare and job-generating programmes for the sake of Afghanistan’s development.
Ex-minister of social welfare Amina Afzali, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, claimed significant achievements had been made in the social welfare field during her tenure.
However, she acknowledged social welfare and job-generating programmes under her ministry could not be implemented due to inadequate support from the then president. Markets had to be surveyed to evaluate jobs options but the government did not allocate enough funds to the ministry, she complained.
Insecurity, she said, remained the main hurdle to efforts for creating job opportunities inside Afghanistan but steps could be taken to help Afghans find employment in foreign countries.
“Regional countries, such as Gulf states, are interested in hiring Afghan manpower, but the goal can be realised only when the Afghan government enters agreements with them,” Afzali remarked.
She said Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, Qatar, Iran and Kazakhstan had agreed with the Ministry of Social Affairs to offer Afghans with job opportunities.
“It is extremely painful for me to see children working as labourers and women begging in bazaars. Social welfare has been my dream but, unfortunately, we did not achieve our targets.
“I hope the new government will step up efforts to resolve people’s problems,” she added, recalling she had shared its problems with the cabinet and former president Hamid Karzai time and again but no attention was paid to it.
Afzali explained the ministry had prepared a draft suggesting the collection of Zakat and Ushr and its distribution to beggars. Currently salaries of the disabled people are paid through banks in 27 provinces but the facility should be available all across the country.
She called for reforms in the ministry and an increase in salaries of disabled people from 3,500 to 5,000 afghanis. Presently serving as a teacher at the Kabul Science University, she is ready for serving Afghans if given a responsibility in the new setup.