Revised budget may be approved on Monday: Yar
KABUL (Pajhwok): Problems in the draft budget for the current fiscal year have been addressed and the revised version would be presented before the Wolesi Jirga for a decision on Monday, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
On Dec. 24, the lower house rejected the proposed accounts by a majority vote, calling the draft budget imbalanced and having serious flaws.
MPs cited imbalance in allocations to provinces and no funding to some incomplete projects from the previous fiscal year, insufficient fund allocation for Afghan students studying abroad and no clarification of necessary codes among other reasons for rejecting the draft budget.
Wolesi Jirga’s Finance Commission head Amir Yar Khan said funds had been unconstitutionally allocated to the offices of the chief executives and the president’s special representative on reforms and good governance.
“It is illegal because the creation of a new department needs parliament’s approval under the Constitution. The two offices are yet to be introduced to the national assembly.”
Under Article 90 of the Constitution, the parliament has the authority to create and modify administrative units.
However, Yar told Pajhwok Afghan New the Finance Ministry had brought sufficient changes to the draft budget before sending it to the parliament.
He said the revised budget had been discussed by the house panels in joint sittings and most of the panels had a positive view about it.
“We have in principal included funds for the chief executive and the president’s envoy on reforms and good governance to the necessary codes. If the two offices are introduced and approved by the assembly, they will be allocated funds, otherwise no funding to them,” Yar said.
The revised version of the budget would be tabled in the lower house on Monday, said Yar, hoping it would be approved then.
The Ministry of Finance says the general budget is worth $275 billion and development spending $183 billion -- 70 percent coming from foreign aid.
Under Article 98 of the Constitution, the general and development budgets are prepared in light of Meshrano Jirga recommendations before it is sent to Wolesi Jirga for a final decision.
The Finance Ministry had urged the assembly to approve the budget at the earliest in order to enable the government to avoid delays in completing development projects.
But the assembly responded the draft had been presented to it quite late and the government would be responsible for any delay in its approval.
The lower house was scheduled to rise for a 45-day winter recess today (Wednesday), but it put on hold the break until the budget is approved.
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