The law relating to the officials’ salary, approved by the Wolesi Jirga, will put a heavy burden on the national budget. The law was crafted to adjust the positions of Chief Executive Officer and his deputies as their salaries were not outlined in the previous budget. The law is also covering salary of the deputy ministers, general directors and governors. Though, details are short about the perks and privileges that these officials would enjoy but if looked at the salaries mentioned in the law, it becomes clear that the National Unity Government is going in an unfavorable direction.
The National Unity Government was supposed to resolve all outstanding challenges but now it is proving the Achilles’ heel with such a poor performance and unbearable expenses. It seems that our leaders have not arrived at the years of discretion; otherwise, they would have focused on their performance instead of forwarding such a law to the parliament. If the international community squeezed the amount of donations or made it conditional then no doubt that the Afghan government would find itself in hot water to meet the expenses and run the state machinery. The Chief executive team is within its rights to demand salaries but the salary and expenses to meet the protocols are high.
The whirligig of time had brought bitter experiences, but we failed to learn from our past. Governments that put burdens on working class and dependent on foreign donations become curse for public of the respective countries. Wise governments choice their path carefully and keep several options on the table to run the system if the worst comes to the worst. Many Afghans are of the view that the new government could not be cured but the nation has to endure it. In such a situation ignoring public concerns would cost because the trust deficit has already reached new heights. The government could not bridge it through empty slogans and promises. This deficit is questioning credibility of democratic system in the country. It will not be a walkover for the coming government to restore the public trust over democracy if the current situation persists.
The government shall come with alternatives to adjust the huge cabinet because it is not only about salaries but travel, office, security and medical expenditures as well. The money that is spent to meet the protocols is much higher than salaries. It is a huge burden on the already exhausted exchequer. Most of the budget is made up of foreign assistance and donations. The money is supposed to be spent on developmental projects.
Therefore, the government should now increase domestic revenues and reduce the unnecessary expenses such as travel cost.
To reduce the burden on the budget, the government should merge three to four provinces into one unit. It will save money in terms of salaries and other expenses. Surely, it will help to adjust the deficit. Furthermore, corruption should be fought, especially in the departments that are generating revenues. Providing salaries to officials working on the newly created positions is a rightful thing but saving money should be the top priority.