Meshrano Jirga unveiled next year's budget
KABUL (PAN): Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal on Sunday presented the first-ever nine-month budget, with a total outlay of 244.3 billion afghanis, to the upper house for next Afghan fiscal year beginning March 21.
Briefing senators, Zakhilwal said a major part of the budget would be used on security and development sectors.
The general budget for the year is 134.3 billion afghanis ($2.7 billion) and development budget 110 billion afs, he said, adding annual budgets for coming years would now start from December 22 based on amendments in budget rules by Parliament on October 17, 2011.
Officials say early approval of the budget would help the government start work on development projects.
Zakhilwal said 57 percent of the general budget would go to the security sector, 17 percent to education and higher studies and the rest would be spent on other projects. Most of the development budget had been allocated for infrastructure development projects, he said, but did provide details.
The minister said 6 percent of the development budget would be used on agriculture development, 8 percent on health, 16 percent on rural rehabilitation and development, with the rest going to other sectors. About 77.3 billion of the general budgets would come from domestic revenues and the rest from foreign donors, he said.
The general budget for the ongoing Afghan year was 80 billion afs and the development budget 150 billion afs. The entire development budget for the ongoing year had been provided by donor countries, the minister said, adding 40 percent of last year's general budget came from foreign donors.
As the number of Afghan soldiers, police, intelligence operatives and teachers had increased, the general budget for each month rose from 12.5 billion afs to 15 billion afs, Zakhilwal said, asking the Parliament to approve the budget as soon as possible.
The lack of proper security, delay in approval of budget by MPs and ill-time submission of plans by government entities were main obstacles to a better use of the budget, he said.
On January 14, the Wolesi Jirga or lower house said most of government institutions had been unable to utilise even 50 percent of the development budget this year.
The Parliament finance and budget commission said an average 40 percent of development budget and 90 percent of the general budget had so far been spent.
First deputy Senate chairman Mohammad Alam Izidyar told the house to conclude debate on the budget before the house general meeting.