MoU signed expanding safe, accessible payments to Afghan Local Police
Afghanistan’s government took a big leap toward 100 percent electronic funds transfer (EFT) capability for local police after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) June 30, authorizing a mobile money pilot program.
CSTC-A Commander Maj. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Minister of Interior H.E. Noorulhaq Olumi and Minister of Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi signed the historic agreement at the Ministry of Interior.
“We will introduce mobile banking services, which have been proven to reduce opportunities for leakages,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in his essay Realizing Self-Reliance. Mobile banking not only provides a more reliable method to distribute pay, but also ensures only registered employees receive payment.
EFT is a much safer method for payment than the current practice of using trusted agents, which 59 percent of Afghan Local Police rely on. Trusted agents are Ministry of Interior appointed personnel that physically deliver salaries in cash to remote areas where banks are currently unavailable; a position that is highly corruptible and dangerous. The mobile money pilot program will allow policemen to receive salaries through their mobile phones and use cash withdrawals without having to step foot in a traditional bank. Instead, policemen will be able to go to an approved shop in their district or even transfer funds electronically to any other user with a text-based software program installed on their phone.
The Ministry of Finance will manage the mobile money program in conjunction with telecom and banking institutions. The initiative will kick off in Kapisa Province which is currently relying 100 percent on trusted agents for payment, with the intent to expand to other regions following a lessons learned analysis. The Essential Function One Directorate within CSTC-A, which encompasses planning, programming budgeting and execution, is providing oversight of the program.
“Mobile money is a transparent payment system that will ensure Afghan police are getting paid — safely,” said Semonite. “Expanding EFT is another step toward secure, sustainable funding for 100 percent of the Afghan National Defense Security Forces. It is a proven system that prevents corruption and will increase the confidence of our donors.”
About CSTC-A: The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan enables, trains, advises and assists by providing essential resources in support and continued development of Afghan National Defense Security Forces.