The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has transferred 878 million afghanis ($11.3 M) from the telecommunication development fund to the Ministry of Finance, officials from ATRA said on Friday.
These revenues come from a 2.5 percent tax on the net incomes of the telecommunication company sales, and have been transferred to the Ministry of Finance into the “non-optional” budget, said the officials.
“We have transferred the money to the special account of the Ministry of Finance; I requested that Ministry of Finance spend the money through the national budget,” said Sayed Mohammad Anwari, advisor to ATRA’s chairman.
“Based on the request of ATRA, and the understanding between the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Communication and ATRA, the income received from the telecommunication development fund will be transferred to the government account and then it will be spent on certain projects including ATRA’s development projects,” said Ebadullah Darman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.
ATRA officials meanwhile confirmed that they were not able to install 160 telecom pylons across the country from the telecommunication development fund.
Some lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament have said that the transfer of money from the government institutions and banks to the Ministry of Finance is concerning.
“There is no transparent financial system that is accountable and can prove transparency,” said MP Abdul Qayoum Sajjadi.
This comes after lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament on Wednesday (December 6) agreed to form a commission to probe the reports of alleged embezzlement from Code 91 and Code 92 –two emergency funds--as well as the transfer of 15 billion afghanis from the Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank of Afghanistan) to the Ministry of Finance, and, finally, the lack of transparency in the collection of 10 percent levies on telecom services.
Documents seen by TOLOnews on December 4 reveal that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court signed the transfer of 15 billion afghanis from the Central Bank of Afghanistan to the Ministry of Finance on a verbal command from President Ashraf Ghani.
Based on the document, Da Afghanistan Bank transferred the amount to the Ministry of Finance before the financial year.
Sources at the time told TOLOnews that the issue of the money transfer from Da Afghanistan Bank was discussed at a meeting in the presidential palace by the Minister of Finance, where the chairman of Da Afghanistan Bank, Wahidullah Nawsher requested President Ashraf Ghani issue an order regarding the transaction.
No one from Da Afghanistan Bank was available to comment.