The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has promoted Helmand to a grade-A province. The president, endorsing the cabinet’s decision, recently issued a decree in this regard.
Governor Mohammad Naeem made the announcement at a gathering in the Karzai Sports Stadium in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. He said that Helmand sustained a fast-paced development for the last several years, and the first-grade status had been a long-standing demand of the people.
“In the past few years, we have made enormous strides,” Governor Naeem said. “It is only with the support of our people that we have prospered. Now that we are classed as grade-A by our president, we look forward to receiving more development money for advanced projects.”
The promotion from the earlier grade 3 would help Helmand avail more from the centre in term of facilities which would subsequently help address people’s problems, the governor said.
The decision was based on an objective assessment of advances in security, governance and economic development. Now Helmand ranks at par with other top-level provinces in the country, such as Kandahar, Herat and Balkh.
Thousands of Helmandis, gathered on the occasion, thanked the government for helping in the progress that the province has made over the years. The announcement was marked by a joyous firework display, sports events by young athletes and a music show that enthralled the audience.
Helmand’s promotion came soon after Governor Naeem announced a few days ago that the Kajaki Dam hydro-electric project will be complete within 12 months. The dam has the potential to dramatically improve the electricity supply in a key region of Afghanistan, including its second-largest city, Kandahar.
Fazal Bari Fayaz, the peace committee member and deputy provincial council head, said Helmand as an agriculture province contributed ten per cent to the country’s gross domestic production, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.