Special meeting on budget on Sunday: Ibrahimi
Already approved by the upper house that had recommended cuts amounting to 12 billion afghanis, 57 percent of the general budget had been allocated to the security sector, 17 percent to education and the rest to other sectors. Under the constitution, the Wolesi Jirga should approve the budget within 30 days.
The nine-month budget had already been thoroughly discussed by the Wolesi Jirga’s finance and budget commission, hoping the house would approve the accounts, but the draft remains unapproved because the quorum could not be complete so far.
Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi said they would call an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to approve the budget.
Lawmaker Hamidullah Tokhi, however, said provinces were not equally treated in allocations of funds in the budget.
Another legislator, Obaidullah Ramin, from northern Baghlan province, said the budget lacked funds for mega projects.
However, the finance and budget commission secretary, Eng. Kamal, said the budget had been prepared by the finance ministry keeping in view the available resources.
He said the finance ministry was of the view that donors were reluctant to fund long-term projects, which would be executed with income to be generated from foreign investment in the mines sector.
The draft budget carries 137.3 billion afghanis ($2.78 billion) in non-development and 110 billion afs in development funds.
The finance ministry has decided that Afghanistan's fiscal year would start from January instead of March to avoid non-execution of development projects due to delays in approval of the annual budget. The new Afghan year starts from March 21.
Officials say the start of the fiscal year in the first month of the winter is beneficial, because most of development activities slow down due to harsh weather conditions that also undermine the process of preparing and approving budgetary allocations.
Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal has estimated the country's own revenue during the next nine months at 95bafs, with 133.5b afs coming from international aid and 3.67b afs acquired in loans.
Despite the country's own revenue and international assistance, there was a 9.385b afs deficit in the next year's development budget, Zakhilwal explained.
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