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Scores of companies fined for neglecting: MoPI

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(Last Updated On: February 26, 2016)

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Officials in Ministry of public interests have stated that scores of companies were fined for neglecting on their duties and responsibilities, saying most of the companies did not begin implementation of the contract they owned.

They have also urged that necessary actions will be taken against those construction companies, a action which was declared un fair by the construction companies Union.

Ministry of public interests Mahdi Rohhani said,” scores of the companies which couldn’t begin or end their projects were fined,if the following companies do not pay their fines their Bank Guarantee documents will be seized and they will no longer have the control on the contracts they were owned.”

Construction companies Union have criticized the recent action which has been taken by the Officials in Ministry of public interests, saying if the projects to begin at the earliest the administration process within the Governmental departments should be speedy.

Head of the construction companies Union Naiem Yasin said,” there are several problems not only here, but also in provinces, if the officials in Ministry of public interests demand fast beginning of the projects then they should move the administrative process faster, fining the companies is not the solution.”

Officials in Ministry of public interests have launched monitoring programs on the projects which are to being constructed by the private companies, and the Afghans aren’t satisfied what they have done.

Reported by Aslam Hjab

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Embezzlement in Afghan customs; $1 billion annually lost to graft

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

More than $1 billion annually is being lost to embezzlement from the Afghan customs revenues. 

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan said Tuesday local tyrants have embezzled millions of dollars from Herat customs, adding that the government has no plan to prevent stealing of public treasury.

A statistic shared by officials from Herat customs shows that the customs have more than 30 billion AFN incomes per year but less than 20 billion AFN had been collected in the government’s account.

Since 1390, the Persian calendar, the Ministry of Finance and Herat customs have recorded annual revenue figures as follow:

In 1390, Herat Customs had 16 billion AFN incomes. The revenues in 1392 declined to 13 billion AFN and decreased to 9 billion AFN in 1393 compared to the previous years.

The statistics show 12 billion AFN incomes in 1394, while the figure increased to 20 billion AFN in 1396 and 1397. On 1398 the incomes once again declined to 16 billion AFN.

Meanwhile, in Twitter and Facebook posts a senior official of Herat customs has also shared daily incomes of the organization for the current year: On March 4, daily income was 136 million AFN, on July 8 the revenue was 119 million AFN and on July 9 the income was 122 million AFN, according to the statistics.

The incomes of the organization reportedly could reach 33 billion AFN in the current year, figures show.

The Ministry of Finance, however, says not only the customs of Herat but also no customs across the country have the same revenue per year, due to a high volume of goods.

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Instagram bans ‘conversion therapy’ content as opposition grows

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(Last Updated On: July 11, 2020)

Instagram said on Friday it would block content that promotes so-called conversion therapy, which aims to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as pressure to ban the practice grows.

The social media giant announced earlier this year it would no longer allow adverts for conversion therapy services, which can range from counseling and ‘praying away the gay’ to electric shocks and sexual violence.

“We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa said in an emailed statement.

“(We) are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”

A spokesman for Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said it would take time to update all policies and content flagged by users may not be removed immediately.

The United Nations independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity called last month for a global ban on conversion therapy, describing it as “cruel, inhumane and degrading”.

A growing number of countries – including the United States, Canada, Chile, and Mexico – are reviewing their laws. Brazil, Ecuador, and Malta have nationwide bans on conversion therapy, while Germany outlawed the treatment for minors in May.

Instagram’s move is “a step in the right direction, but we’d have to wait and see exactly what kind of actions they take,” Harry Hitchens, co-founder of the campaign group Ban Conversion Therapy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ban Conversion Therapy sent an open letter yesterday to Britain’s Equalities Minister Liz Truss, urging her “to introduce a truly effective ban on conversion therapy for all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and gender diverse people in the UK”.

Among those who signed the letter were musicians Elton John and Dua Lipa and writer and actor Stephen Fry.

Truss pledged in May to ban conversion therapy for sexual orientation.

In a global survey of 1,641 survivors of conversion therapy published by the United Nations in May, 46% identified the perpetrators as being medical and mental health providers, while 19% were religious authorities and traditional healers.

Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT+ activist who underwent conversion therapy aged 16, welcomed the ban but said it had been “a long time coming”.

“What is missing for me in all of this conversation is the face of it, the horror of it. And I don’t care how terrible it is, people need to see it and see real human beings sharing their story in public,” he said.

 

Source: Reuters

 

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World Bank provides $200 million for Afghanistan to protect people, support businesses amid COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Thursday approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

In a statement released on Thursday, the World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant will support the government of Afghanistan to strengthen policies that promote faster recovery and keep basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, and telecommunications afloat and running, the statement said.

“The program will provide vital fiscal resources to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the context of rapidly slowing economic growth and declining government revenues,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“Policy actions supported by the program will both help mitigate the impacts of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable and also lay critical foundations for longer-term recovery. The World Bank will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan through this crisis,” Kerali added.

The World Bank said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse health, social, and economic impacts in Afghanistan, shrinking the economy and driving down public revenue.

“The grant will support changes in regulations to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, protect healthcare workers, and raise awareness on gender-based violence in schools,” it stated.

The organization added that it will also support plans to encourage students to return to school when educational institutions are to reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 33,908 with 957 and 20,847 recoveries in Afghanistan.

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