KABUL - Last year the government's telephone bill was over $10 million (roughly 519 million Afghanis). The Ministries of Defense, Interior, and Culture and Information generated 42 percent of those costs, an official said Monday. Haji Mohammad Aqa, a Finance Ministry official, told Pajhwok Afghan News that since the end of March, the president's office, the two houses of Parliament, 26 ministries, 34 provincial governments, and other departments spent 518,896,000 Afghanis of government money on telephone calls.
According to Aqa, the Defence Ministry spent over 119 million Afghanis, the Interior Ministry spent over 53 million Afghanis, and the Ministry of Information and Culture spent over 44 million Afghanis on phone charges.
He said the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had the lowest phone charges, of over one million Afghanis. He also said that local independent departments had spent over 31 million Afghanis on phone calls. The Legal Training Center spent 43 thousand Afghanis, the least among them.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) spent over 12 million Afghanis. He continued that the provincial governments of Herat and Balkh had spent the most on phone calls among the provincial governments. The Nuristan provincial government spent the least, a little over one million Afghanis.
He said that in addition to these charges, the government also pays mobile phone expenses for some employees.
Aqa said that by presidential decree, high-level officials receive 2500 to 10000 Afghanis in mobile phone credits monthly.