Civil Servants Need to Receive Their Salaries on Time

In his last days as President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani focused on military issues. This has left the functioning of state civil institutions in a state of uncertainty. After the Taliban came to power, government employees were paid only one month. Salaries had previously been sent to civil servants by the Ministry of Finance affiliated with Ashraf Ghani’s government. Now, almost three months after the fall, government employees are facing major challenges.

A letter was recently issued by the administrative office of the Taliban-led government, delaying the payment of salaries to non-budget department employees. The letter states that this process will be suspended until the salary table is amended by the board. This letter was sent to the ministries for implementation on October 28th.

However, most government employees are in dire economic straits. Some of those who worked in offices like the Administrative Office of the President and Security Council may have received high salaries, but the salaries of other public servants have been between 5,000 and 15,000 afghanis. The living conditions of these employees are such that if they do not receive their salaries on time, they are forced to turn to others or sell their house items.

Intermittent employees have suffered the most damage. Some of them have not been paid for about eight to nine months and do not know what will happen to their job wages. On the other hand, contract employees have been relieved of their duties. Doctors’ salaries in hospitals have not been paid for months, and they have warned of the consequences in several provinces.

Even teachers, who earn only a few thousand afghanis a month, have not been able to earn anything and are waiting to be paid. They have said they will go on a strike if their salaries are not paid. Facebook pages are full of posts that people ask about their wages. Employees’ worries on the eve of the cold season are that their salaries will not be paid and the winter will end without buying fuel.

About three weeks ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced that it would pay 25,000 health workers in October. This helps to keep the meager salaries of the healthcare workers running for some time. However, the core challenge of not implementing the salaries of most civil servants remains. The previous government allocated about 300 billion afghanis for the fiscal year 2021 as a regular budget. This budget was sufficient to implement the salaries of the employees until the end of the fiscal year (late December of this year). Afghanistan also still earns revenue from ports that can provide at least the salaries of government employees.

Thus, any delay in the implementation of the salaries of civil servants, at least until the end of the current fiscal year, is unjustifiable. The Taliban had previously told government employees that they would be paid only one month as before. Employees’ salaries change after October. However, rising prices and the arrival of winter require that the salaries of civil servants be paid as normal by the end of the fiscal year. Any changes in staff salaries should be implemented in the next fiscal year. The employees of the previous government were not Ashraf Ghani’s personal employees who had to pay for his sins. They joined the previous government to earn a living, and perhaps most of them regret it.

The Taliban may expect civil servants to work without pay for some time to control the economic crisis. While in reality, this is not possible. If the situation continues like this and the salaries of government employees are not paid, they will be forced to think about leaving work. Former government employees may now be considered worthless to the Taliban, but they were the ones who turned the cycle of governance around. Any inappropriate or careless treatment of them paralyzes the normal routine of the government.