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    Zakhilwal spurn MPs accusations

    KABUL (PAN): Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal, rejecting accusations by some Wolesi Jirga members, said on Wednesday no irresponsible changes had been made in the current year’s budget.

    On Monday, some lawmakers said the Ministry of Finance had irresponsibly brought changes to the budget, calling for the minister to be summoned to the lower house for a clarification.

    Zakhilwal, who appeared before the assembly, poured scorn on the accusations. 

    According to Parliament’s Finance and Budget Commission, the house approved a 215 billion afs ($4.35b) budget, but the ministry in its final report put the figure at 231 billion afs.

    Under Article 47 on the budgetary procedure, the ministry could add funds with approval from the president after the budget was approved by Parliament, the minister said, adding the mini budget was aimed at increasing interior ministry's staff.

    "The money, provided by the US government, was added to the budget in compliance with a presidential decree,” Zakhilwal said, adding a report in this regard had been sent to the Wolesi Jirga.

    During Monday’s session, the house summoned several ministers for failing to spend even 50 percent of their development budgets during the previous fiscal year.

    "Reasons behind the failure to use development funds are a delay in payments by donor agencies, the bad security situation and the low capacity of the private sector,” Zakhilwal said.

    "The ministries concerned should be asked about their failure. Each ministry has been paid the required funds," he said.

    Also present on the occasion, Mohammad Sharif Sharifi, Auditor General of Control and Audit Office at the Cabinet, said there were problems with the final report about the budget.

    frm/ma/mud