Changes brought to budget after rejection by MPs
KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday it had made changes with a financial impact of 312 million afghanis ($6.2 million) to the annual budget after its rejection by an overwhelming majority of Wolesi Jirga members less than two weeks ago.
On March 18, the national assembly refused to endorse the proposed accounts due to uneven allocations to provinces and a hefty $80 million (3.9 billion afghanis) bailout package for the ailing Kabul Bank.
Aziz Shams, the finance ministry spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the changes had been made in line with legislators’ demand and the resources available. In addition to an increase of 187 millions afs to the general budget, some other changes have also been brought to the accounts.
Shams explained 50 million afghanis, the president’s discretionary funds, had been shifted to other portions of the budget. The 500 million afs allocation for the private banks that would pay salaries to government employees had been slashed by 50 million afs, he said.
To meet Wolesi Jirga demands, he said, 50 million afs had been allocated for the construction of mosques, as much amount for drug addict rehabilitation centres and 25 million afs for a gymnasium for the people with disabilities.
However, he said, no changes had been made to the development budget. The hike in budgetary allocations will lead to an increased revenue gap. Last year, the deficit stood at 12.5 billion afs, which could go up to 12.7 billion afs this year.
On the bailout package for Kabul Bank, he said, the allocation had been made in response to a request from the International Monetary Fund.
The troubled bank, which faced a major financial crunch last year after giving out $910 million in bad loans, was put under the government-run Da Afghanistan Bank and renamed as New Kabul Bank.
“If the Wolesi Jirga further delays its approval of the budget, it could result in a delay in foreign assistance,” Shams said.
In order to ensure the country’s uniform development, he said, no changes had been brought to the provincial allocations. A dozen less developed provinces had been allocated $5 million and the comparatively developed ones $2 million, he explained.
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