461.8b afs national budget lands in Senate
KABUL (Pajhwok): The draft of the national annual budget with a total outlay of 461.8 billion afghanis for the upcoming fiscal year has been sent to the Senate or Mesharano Jirga for approval, the finance minister said on Sunday.
Explaining the draft budget, Eklil Hakimi said the 461.8 billion afs projections showed a six percent increase compared to the accounts of the outgoing fiscal year. The new fiscal year starts on Dec. 22, 2015.
Of the total budget, 283.3 million afs (61 percent of total budget) has been set aside as general expenses and 168.5 billion afs as development budget, the minister said, adding the general expenditures had been declined by nearly one percent, saving 163 million afghanis.
Up to 34 percent of the allocations would be secured from domestic revenue and the rest would be provided by the international community, he said, adding that 50 percent of the general budget and 89 percent of the development budget would be fulfilled from external sources.
The draft shows privileges of retired government servants and allocation of salaries for 700 prayer leaders have been increased by 1.415 billion afs, according to the minister, who said 8.5 percent of the development budget had been set aside for environment production, agriculture sector, health, economic and rural development.
Hakimi was optimistic about 4.4 percent economic growth rate during the upcoming fiscal year, saying the average growth rate of 2010 and 2011 was 9.6 percent, but it declined to 3.7 and 1.3 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The current year growth rate is 2.6 percent.
The draft budget would be assessed by the Senate finance and economic commission and all the panels along with a professional team before presenting it to a general session of the Meshrano Jirga or upper house, Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said.
The finance minister was also ready to cooperate for enrichment of the budget with lawmakers till its approval, he said.
Under Article 98 of the Constitution, the general and development budgets are prepared in light of Meshrano Jirga opinion before it is referred to Wolesi Jirga for a final decision. After Wolesi Jirga approves it, the draft budget is sent to the president for signing.
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