Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Wolesi Jirga Approves Thrice-Revised Budget Draft

Wolesi Jirga Approves Thrice-Revised Budget Draft

KABUL - The Wolesi Jirga on Monday approved the thrice-revised draft budget for 2021 fiscal year by a majority of votes.
The lower house had twice rejected the draft budget for 1400 solar year over elimination of 1,100 provincial projects and a surge in funds for government’s codes.
However, today the draft was presented to the Wolesi Jirga session and was approved by a majority of votes.
Mir Afghan Safi, who heads the Budget Finance Commission, briefed lawmakers on the third draft for 1400 solar year, saying the government had accommodated most of the house’s demands.
According to him, based on the amendments in the budget document, the increase of 2,000 afghanis in salaries of low-ranking officials will require 10.7 billion afghanis, of which five billion will be included in the budget and the rest will be spent on-middle budget.
He added the budget for the National Food Package program, which had been rejected by the lower house, was removed from the budget draft, and 8.4 billion afghanis allocated for the presidential operation unit.
But he said the budget now included only 4.4 billion afghanis to complete the half-completed projects allocated to the unit.
The WolesiJirg has not yet approved the formation of a presidential operational unit.
Safi said the authority of the Wolesi Jirga was in line with the law, and the Ministry of Finance was set to design a plan this year for salaries and privileges of government officials.
According to the Wolesi Jirga Budget Finance Commission, the government last year spent about six billion afghanis on 24,000 government employees alone besides receiving NTA salaries.
According to the commission, the fund for capacity building was removed from the budget draft because it had become a source of corruption.
Without elaborating, he said the budget for precautionary codes especially 91 and 92 had been reduced.
SayedAzimKobarzani, Wolesi Jirga Budget Finance Commission secretary, said the total budget for 1400 was 473 billion afghanis, of which 311 billion set aside as regular budget and more than 161 billion afghanis as development budget.
According to Kobarzani, 216 billion of the total budget would be financed from domestic revenues and 218 billion from foreign aid.
The 37 billion afs budget deficit would be filled with 20 billion afs from microfinance funds and 17 billion afs from non-repayable loans from the International Monetary Fund.
He added the commission approved the third draft after holding joint meetings with other commissions and government officials.
Finally, Mir RahmanRahmani, Wolesi Jirga Speaker, presented the draft budget for voting and out of 147 members present in the house, 143 approved the budget and four others rejected it.
After the budget approved, Rahmani said: “Today is a historic day for the Wolesi Jirga and the people’s representatives, because after two months of resistance, they managed to include the important parts and the demands of the people in the budget draft.”
According to him, many adjustments have been made in the budget document based on the view of the Wolesi Jirga, including reducing expenditures and preventing budget waste.
He added that in the past two months, members of the lower house have taken a firm stand to increase staff salaries, balance budgets for provinces, and save costs.
Rahmani said the delay in approving the budget was not a political issue or a hostage situation, but an attempt by the house to ensure justice and equal rights of the people.
He added the Wolesi Jirga within its authority would always support the system and that the difference of opinion was the beauty of democracy.
The Wolesi Jirga approved the 1400 solar year budget after two months and five days into the new fiscal year.
The Wolesi Jirga delayed its 45-day winter break by more than a month until the budget was approved.
The lawmakers will go on winter break for eleven days starting tomorrow. (Pajhwok)