Senators critical of draft budget
"No viable plan that can create jobs for people and help them get rid of poverty has been included in the development spending," said Abdul Wahab Irfan, Senate's finance and budget commission head.
Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal presented the new draft budget to the upper house late last month. With a total outlay of 150 billion afghanis ($3,303.24 million), the draft budget proposes 65.7 million afghanis for development activities.
Provincial council members have been given no pay raise in the new budget, according to Irfan. Each member receives 15,000afs a month while a senator's monthly salary is 90,000afs.
Compared to the previous year, there is a 41 percent decrease in the new development budget, Iran said, blaming the decline on the "inefficiency of ministries in utilising their allocations for the outgoing year".
The senator remarked: "It is unacceptable to us. Ministries should improve their performance." At least 17 ministries were unable to spend even 40 percent of their last year's budgetary allocations.
There were other problems as well in the new budget, said Irfan, who called on the finance ministry for a review of the draft.
Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar sought more funds for returnees. He said that Pakistan and Iran had been expelling Afghan refugees, who needed assistance at home.
The government should be ready to deal with the arrival of unexpected numbers of refugees from neighbouring countries.
Adjourning the session, Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said the finance minister would be summoned on Tuesday to answer questions from senators about the budget.
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