MPs once again reject draft budget for 2013
KABUL (PAN): The Wolesi Jirga -- or lower house of parliament -- on Wednesday again rejected with a majority vote the draft budget for 2013, with lawmakers hitting out at the government for uneven fund distribution to provinces and allocating a small sum for job-generating projects.
Members avoided debating the issue of summoning nearly a dozen ministers for under-spending their development budget last year.
At Wednesday's session, members said the draft -- already adopted by the Meshrano Jirga (upper house) -- carried "an unjustified" sum of $82 million for the Presidential Palace’s general expenses and a meagre amount of $64 million for the judiciary and parliament.
Budget documents contained no explanation for an amount of $36 million, prompting legislators to question the allocation. They also angrily reacted to the finance ministry’s failure to give clear figures for external debt.
Of the 145 members present, 105 voted against the draft budget -- a move that could plunge the government into trouble due to a paucity of funds and a delay in approval of fresh allocations.
The house finance and budget commission chief, Amir Khan Yar, came hard on members, accusing some of them of trying to gain personal benefits.
He insisted the government had incorporated lawmakers' views into the budget. He said all panel heads, except the Kuchi and Martyrs Commission, had supported the allocations.
In the proposed budget, an amount of 170 billion afghanis has been set aside for development activities and 196 billion afghanis to fund non-development expenses.
Seventy percent of the funds allocated for development purposes are non-discretionary, with 55 percent coming in foreign assistance and 45 percent expected in domestic revenue.
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