The Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Thursday said that the government needs 20 to 30 billion afs ($262 million - $393 million) in its struggle against the coronavirus in the country and that the government is trying to gather the target amount by attracting additional aid from international donors and transferring funds from other budgetary units into the COVID-19 funds.
According to the Ministry of Finance, so far the government has allocated the following amount of money to the struggle against the coronavirus, and to deal with the financial losses affecting businesses.
6.7 billion afs ($87 million) from domestic sources
$140 million from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank funds
117 million euros from the fund recently announced by the European Union
From the 6.7 billion afs ($87 million) gathered from the domestic resources, 2.3 billion afs ($30 million) so far have been transferred to the provinces, according to the Finance Ministry.
“Alongside the 6.7 billion afs, which was gathered from domestic sources, $100.4 million was also provided by the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank provided $40 million, the European Union provided 117 million euros for this purpose--we are also in discussions with other countries and some technical documents have been signed regarding the issue,” said Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.
The Afghan government said it has outlined an 11-item plan aimed at seeking support from the international community for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Meanwhile, critics have criticized the Afghan government for its performance towards fighting the virus.
“We saw that 27 million afs were spent on the awareness campaign, but it had no impact-- the people’s money should be spent in the right way,” said Khalid Assad, a member of parliament.
“Transparency, accountability and good governance are among the priorities for us, we hope that these things are not sidelined and we hope that the plan is implemented in the right way in all provinces,” said Sayed Azim Kibrzani, head of parliament’s finance and budget commission.
“We want this plan (11 item plan) to be reviewed in consultation with the civil society, because we saw shortcomings in the area of the awareness campaign,” said Sayed Ekram Afzali, the head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan.
This comes hours after the Health Ministry on Thursday said that 56 new COVID-19 cases had been registered in the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 840.
So far 30 deaths have been reported due to COVID-19 in the country, and 54 have recovered, said the ministry.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz addressed the Afghan parliament, saying that carelessness, and failing to abide by recommended health practices, will make each citizen's home vulnerable to the disease.
Feroz told the assembly that the true numbers of infections in the country are not known because not all patients with COVID-19 symptoms go to health centers.
“I request that the people please stay at home, take the advice of the Ministry of Public Health seriously, and save the homeland,” added Feroz.