KABUL - Members of nine parliamentary commissions on Sunday approved the budget for the new financial year that commenced on March 21. The lower house, which twice rejected the draft, is expected to approve it on Monday.
Passed by the Senate, or Meshrano Jirga, the budget was rejected by the assembly, despite Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal's appeal for its early approval.
The lower house is expected to approve it tomorrow, finance and budget commission head, Amir Khan Yar, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the budget was first rejected for a lack of equal allocation of funds to provinces and lack of job-generating projects.
Setting aside an amount of $73 million for the central bank to support the embattled Kabul Bank was the reason that led to the budget's rejection for a second time, he added.
The ordinary budget for the current year, as originally projected by the finance minister, was 150 billion afghanis and the development outlay 65.7 billion afghanis.
Following lawmakers' criticism of what they called unwarranted cuts, the government enhanced the ordinary budget to 154 billion afghanis and the development outlay to 82.5 billion Afghanis. Yar said the finance ministry had excluded the $73 million amount from the ordinary budget and had taken into confidence the parliamentary panels over fund distribution to provinces. He added members of the nine commissions on Sunday held a joint meeting and agreed to approve the budget on Monday. A spokesman for the finance ministry, Aziz Shams, confirmed the ministry had excluded $73 million from the budget. (Pajhwok)