By: Shukria Kohistani
Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) has informed of preparations for implementation of national food program in the country. Officials for the respective ministry say it is determined that 35,000 families will probably receive the package in 1,000 villages this week. The package includes food and non-food items as flour, rice, cooking oil, bean, pea and soap. This comes after parliament rejected the package two times in the past two months.
According to MRRD, various stages of national food package has been almost finalized and it is determined that the package will be soon implemented and distributed to five million families across the country.
“The program will be implemented in two phases: in first phase, 12,000 villages in 123 districts will be covered and the package will be implemented in 34 provinces through citizen covenant program,” said Faridoon Azhand, a spokesperson to the ministry of rural rehabilitation and development.
He added that in second phase, 21,000 villages of 260 districts would be covered, saying that the MRRD was working to create development councils in all these districts as there were not development councils in the respective districts.
In addition to implementation of the two respective phases, seven other phases have been considered to implement the national food package in all 34 provinces of the country.
According to the MRRD spokesperson, in first phase, miserable people will be aware of the package. In second phase, development council makes a list of miserable families. In third phase, the lists are reviewed and checked and after checking and providing the food and non-food items, distribution process begins and the program is implemented.
Azhand further said that more than 500,000 families have been aware of the modality of distribution of the package, adding that a list of nearly 350,000 families living in 2,500 villages have been prepare and finalized.
Meanwhile, secretary of parliament’s finance and budget commission Saydajan Kabirzai says the government has cancelled 17 development projects worth $335 million to add and implement the national food package.
He stressed that parliament would not let the government embezzle the money of development projects as Dushi – Bamyan road under the name of assistance to the people, considering that the development projects were more significant than to provide a small food package to people.
On the other hand, the ministry of finance says implementation of the national food package is aimed to provide foodstuffs to miserable families have seriously suffered during the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown of cities in the country.
According to acting minister of finance summoned by parliament, the project has a total cost of 280 million AFG and being funded from the optional development budget. The funding is made by the World Bank and the scheme was being implemented by the Rural Development Ministry, Independent Directorate of Local Governance and municipalities.