Draft budget presented to Wolesi Jirga
KABUL (PAN): Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal on Saturday presented before the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house, the draft annual budget with a total outlay of 277 billion afghanis for the ongoing fiscal year.
Addressing lawmakers, Zakhilwal said the first-ever nine months budget for the year 1391 (2012) carried 137.3 billion afghanis ($2.78 billion) in non-development and 110 billion afs in development funds.
Already approved by the upper house that had recommended cuts amounting to 12 billion afghanis, 57 percent of the general budget will be spent on security sector, 17 percent on education and the rest on other sectors.
With a majority vote, the Wolesi Jirga decided on October 17 last year that Afghanistan's fiscal year would start from January instead of April. The decision was taken to avoid non-execution of development projects due to delays in approval of the annual budget by Parliament.
“Almost 77.3 billion afs ($1.56 billion) will be generated domestically while the rest will be provided by the international community. The whole development budget will be financed through foreign aid,” the minister explained.
Of the general budget, 15 billion afs would be spent each month on funding salaries of public servants. The amount had increased from last year’s allocation of 12.5 billion afs due to the rising number of teachers and security personnel, Zakhilwal said, urging the house to approve the budget as soon as possible.
Haji Abdul Zahir Qadir, the first deputy speaker, believed that the Wolesi Jirga should not approve the budget for ministries headed by acting ministers, who lacked authority to take important decisions.
Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi, responding to Qadir’s remarks, observed that they were not going to approve the budget for a minister, but for a budgetary unit.
On January 14, the lower house said most of government institutions had been unable to utilise even 50 percent of their development budgets last year. Parliament’s Finance and Budget Commission says an average 40 percent of development budget and 90 percent of the general budget has been utilised so far.
Under Article 98 of the Constitution, the state budget and development programme of the government should be submitted through the Senate to the Wolesi Jirga.
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