Wolesi Jirga again rejects current year's budget
Passed by the Senate, or Meshrano Jirga, the budget had earlier been rejected by the assembly on March 28, despite Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal's appeal for early approval.
The ordinary budget for the current year, as originally projected by finance minister, was 150 billion afghanis ($3.3 billion) 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.
After being discussed by different parliamentary panels, the budget was re-presented to the house today. But 86 of the 128 members present during the session disapproved the accounts.
Legislator from Kabul, Shukriya Barakzai complained the proposed finances did not envisage a single job-generating project. Many of the plans were different from the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, she said.
A representative from western Herat province hit out at budget-makers for ignoring national priorities, which he did not explain. Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada said the document proposed a payment of $73 million to Kabul Bank.
"This is absolutely unacceptable to us. Why the nation's wealth is given to a financial institution which is teetering on the verge of collapse?" he asked.
In the wake of objections from a majority of MPs, Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi said the budget was full of problems. Parliamentarians' views about the flaws should be considered, he added.
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