Ezmarai Baher, the head of the electronic National Identity Card department on Thursday called on the government to make a firm decision regarding the pilot roll out phase so as to avoid further delays.
In his remarks, Baher highlighted the issues facing his administration and said that the government must consider the budget as well as the employees working for the concerned department who have reportedly not been paid for months.
Initially, the timeframe for the pilot phase of the e-NIC roll out campaign was to have been Wednesday – August 19 – but President Ashraf Ghani said at a meeting recently with the ministers of interior affairs and communication that the cabinet in its Thursday meeting will take the final decision regarding the matter.
“We hope that the cabinet will consider a number of important issues facing the institution such as the exact date for distribution of the IDs and finding a settlement to the budget issues. There are about 800 employees who have not received their salaries for several months,” Baher said.
“Further delays will create more issues such as losing financial aid,” he added.
Referring to the issues, some Afghan lawmakers in parliament have also lent their support to the e-NIC department in a bid to persuade the government to move forward on the matter.
“Government leaders should keep in mind that further delay of e-NIC doesn’t favor the interests of the people and the government, so time shouldn’t be wasted more than this,” MP Niamatullah Ghafari said.
Even the public is now calling for a decision to be taken. “So far the government has made several commitments and pledged that the process will start, then why is it not starting,” a member of the public said.
This comes after USAID terminated its financial cooperation a few weeks ago in reaction to the continued delays. The EU has also warned that it will halt its financial support if the process is not launched soon.