ICT could provide $1 billion annually to Afghan govt budget: SIGAR

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) could potentially provide $1 billion annually to the Afghan government’s budget, the Special Inspector Genral for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko has said.Quoting Department of Defense (DoD) officials,

Sopko said the potential revenue collection could reduce the country’s reliance on foreign aid.Sopko made the remarks in a letter regarding the results of its audit of efforts of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop Aghanistan’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT).“We found that DOD, State, and USAID have invested over $2.6 billion in the Afghan ICT sector since 2002, with DOD contributions totaling more than $2.5 billion alone,” Sopko said in his letter.He said the reconstruction funds invested in the ICT sector largely supported the Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces and the Afghan media, and aimed to increase the ICT capacity of various Afghan ministries.“However, the full scope of U.S. efforts is unknown because the agencies were not required to track projects as
specifically benefiting the ICT sector,” Sopko added.According to Sopko, they also found that the agencies coordinated their efforts. “For example, DOD officials stated that the Telecommunications Advisory Team within the International Security Assistance Force was created to exchange information and coordinate ICT efforts among U.S. agencies, coalition partners, Afghan ministries, and Afghanistan’s private sector.”Sopko further added that team was active from 2010 through October 2014. “According to State officials, U.S. coordination on the ICT sector continues to occur between State, USAID, and DOD mission personnel. We are not making any recommendations in this report,” he added.

Source: Kabul Tribune. Date: 23 July 2016