Amid walkout, Senate returns budget to WJ
In protest against what they called an imbalance in allocation of funds to the provinces and plans to create 700 jobs in the Chief Executive Office, a number of senators stormed out of the house.
With its proposals, the Meshrano Jirga Economic Commission placed the draft budget before the general session. A member of the panel, Mohammaduddin Hamdard said the budget had been prepared in view of available resources.
The general budget for the year is 275 billion afghanis while the development spending has been projected at 183 billion afs. The draft was presented by the Ministry of Finance last month for approval.
Eleven percent of the budget would go to the security sector, 32 percent to infrastructure and natural resources, 10 percent to education, 24 percent to agriculture and rural development and 10 percent to public health.
One percent of funds have been earmarked for social security, five percent to governance, rule of law and promoting human rights, five percent to economic and private sector development and six percent to other sectors.
Anarkali Hunaryar, a member of the commission, said lawmakers had floated 40 proposals for consideration. Among other recommendations, the commission asked the Ministry of Agriculture be given enough projects to enhance the growth.
They also suggested a higher education budget to enable the education ministry to hire professional and qualified teaching staff.
She said members had recommended a raise in the monthly salaries of provincial council members to 50,000 afghanis from 25,000 afghanis. In addition, stipends for those studying abroad should be increased from 5 million afghanis to 10 million afghanis, she added.
But some other members dubbed the budget as imbalanced. Arifullah Pashtun, a public representative from Khost province, said a proper balance had not been taken into consideration.
“This budget is unacceptable to us and we are going to walk out of the session,” he remarked. With Pashtun’s speech, nine members staged a walkout.
Muhammad Hassan Hotak, a representative from Zabul, said that the budget was unfair. Any additional development funds could not be allocated for some provinces, he added.
Muhammad Alaim Ezedyar, the deputy chairman who chaired the session, acknowledged the budget had some flaws. “We have no option but to accept the budget,” he told the house. Of the 53 members present, 45 approved the budget.
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