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Hakimi vows reforms in MoF, stern war on corruption

“I am under pressure from different sides, including the cabinet members and the council of ministers. Such pressures will not work. I am committed to bring reforms in customs departments and will uproot endemic corruption in Finance Ministry”

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi

KABUL: As corruption still remains biggest hurdle for the 9-month-old National Unity Government, the Finance Minister says he is under pressure from different sides in his ministry’s anti-corruption drive.

“I am highly interested and committed to bring reforms and uproot endemic corruption in Ministry of Finance [MoF] but a number of cabinet members and the council of ministers are building up pressure on us which hampers our mission,” said Eklil Hakimi, the Finance Minister.

However, he told lawmakers on Saturday that such pressures will not work and will not push him to hold back his decision of brining reforms in the ministry.

He confirmed corruption in the Finance Ministry but said he is committed to root out this illegal trend and bring reforms in the ministry within a month.

“We have set a six-month deadline to bring reforms and curb endemic corruption in MoF. Our deadline will complete in a month,” he added.

Hinting at differences in revenues collection in Nimroz and Herat provinces, the minister said eliminating corruption in Nimroz customs office is part of the ministry’s 100-day plan. He vowed to share anti-corruption and reforms mechanism to lawmakers within a month.

In the meantime, a number of MPs claimed that there is widened corruption in the Finance Ministry, especially in customs departments of provinces.

About revenues collection mechanism, the Finance Minister said the revenues will increase several times if they were collected properly.

He said a number of customs departments have been equipped with scanners and cameras to collect incomes in a transparent process. He added that the remaining customs departments will be provided the facility in near future.

Acting governor of the Central Bank, Khan Afzal Hadawal, told MPs that the increase in US dollar value in international market has decreased the rate of Afghani currency, adding that withdrawal of NATO troops and international organizations have also affected the value of Afghani currency.

However, he said that shrink in value of Afghani currency has not mounted market prices. “The Central Bank sells millions of dollars in the market on weekly basis to balance the rate of Afghani. At least $60 million was sold in the market this week,” he explained.

In reply to a query, he said private banks will not face the fate of the Kabul Bank as the Central Bank has control on their activities.

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