KABL (SW) – A document obtained by Salam Watandar indicates the presidential palace approved funds worth $ 8,000 a month for needy individuals promoting culture, but many in this community remain skeptical of its utilization.
This document dating back to 2016 is a budget allocation request by Asadullah Ghazanfar, the president’s advisor on cultural affairs. The request for the budget was approved by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with direction to issue the funds from the Code 91 of the national budget.
The proposal’s break-up for funds requested by the advisor is as followed:
- A monthly allowance of $ 5000 for the needy figures, cultural groups and institutions promoting culture
- A monthly allowance of $ 1000 for the publication of a book
- A monthly allowance of $ 1000 for organizing scholarly seminars in the capital Kabul and provinces
- A monthly allowance of $ 500 for the reception of cultural figures and for communications with them
A number of cultural figures, including Kawa Jobran, teacher and writer, expressed unawareness over the utilization of such funds. He charged the cultural advisory of the president is using these funds with discrimination and in close circles.
Mohammad Jaffar, a poet, said he has not seen any investment by the government in publishing books or holding seminars. He stressed the government must share transparent accounts of these funds with the artist community.
However, the president’s advisor on cultural affairs, Assadullah Ghazanfar, has clarified these funds were issued for a while in the beginning, but the process stopped later. He underlined a clear mechanism is in place for the distribution of these funds, but he did not shared details.