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Lower house rejects draft budget for next year

Lower house rejects draft budget for next year

Dec 21, 2015 - 15:05

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The lower house of the parliament on Monday rejected the draft budget for 2016 budget, saying most of development schemes had been approved last year and there was no balance in provincial allocations.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said the 2016 draft budget had been prepared keeping in mind available funds and effectiveness of development schemes. It sought approval of the proposed accounts by the assembly in the best national interest.

Abdul Rahman Halimi, the budget department head at the MoF, said 283.3 billion afghanis had been set aside for general expenses and 178.5 million for development activities in the draft budget.

According to the official, there is a six percent increase in the outlay over the previous year. The minister had said 50 percent of the general and 89 percent of the development budget would come from foreign aid.

In the coming year, security, educationinfo-icon and healthinfo-icon sectors would get greater allocations, with the government focusing its attention on mega development projects. Small projects will be completed, if funds are available.

Halimi disclosed 47 percent of development funds would be spent on infrastructure development and exploitation of natural resources, which would hopefully help generate employment opportunities.

He said the use of the entire development budget would help create 150,000 jobs and the Education Ministry would be able to enroll one million more children in schools. As the country is struggling with unemployment, many youth have left for foreign countries.

About the imbalance in provincial shares, Halimi remarked: “Every province is precious and dear to us.” He said 80 percent of the total development budget would be spent on priority development projects across the country.

The Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon has already approved and referred the accounts to the lower house for endorsement. The draft budget is being debated by lawmakers and various commissions of the lower house.

A majority of lawmakers complained most of the development schemes mentioned in the document were old and no balance had been maintained among the provinces.

Amir Khan Yar, head of the house finance and budgetary commission, said there were two major problems in the draft -- one there was no programme for job creation and the two, budget-makingprinciples had been disregarded.

He also alleged development schemes in remote areas of the country had been ignored in next year’s budget. Of the 127 members present during the session, 117 voted against the proposed budget.


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