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Lawmakers criticize next year’s budget draft

Lawmakers criticize next year’s budget draft

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Dec 02, 2017 - 18:09

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Several Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members on Saturday criticized the next year’s budget draft, saying some projects in the recommendations could not be implemented in insecure areas of the country.

The next year’s budget draft is 357.6 billion afghanis, one billion dollars less than the 1396 solar year’s budget.

According to the Ministry of Finance, 267 billion afghanis has been set aside for general expenses and more than 90 billion afghanis for development for the next fiscal year starting from December 22. The budget for previous fiscal year was 461 billion afghanis.

However, a number of Wolesi Jirga or lower house members on Saturday criticized the budget draft.

Rahila Salim, a lawmaker from central Panjsher province, said the national budget for 1397 solar yearinfo-icon was not only incomplete, but it also lacked balance.

“The finance minister should be asked about the population statistics of the five provinces he has mentioned in the draft budget, the statistics should be accurate and based on known sources otherwise the draft budget is incomplete and lack balance in development projects,” she said.

However, she did not name the five provinces.

Haidar Jan Naimzai, another lawmaker, said most of the projects mentioned in the next year’s budget plan were imaginary because they could not be implemented in some regions due to security problems.

“The money allocated for these projects could not be implemented in some insecure areas and instead should be used for improvement of Afghan security forces,” he said.

Nasima Niazi, a lawmaker from southern Helmand province, said no budget had been allocated for infrastructure projects in her province.

She said no jobs-creating project had been added in the budget for Helmand. She would not vote in favor of the budget.

A lawmaker from Badakhshan province, Abdul Rauf Inami, said the accounts showed the government’s repeated commitment to fighting corruption had borne no results.

“Thirty percent of general budget is met from domestic sources, but we see no good changes in the next year’s draft budget despite the government collects 10 percent telecom tax,” he said.

“I think corruption has not decreased, but it has centralized and only a limited number of figures can get benefit of it,” he added.

According to the Ministry of Finance, 167 billion afghanis or 47 percent of the whole budget would be met from domestic revenue and the rest would be provided by donors.

Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai, second deputy speaker who chaired today’s meeting of the lower house, said problems existed in the next year’s budget plan.

“It is the responsibility of lawmakers and relevant commissions to observe balance in the budget plan.”

The lower house started debating the budget only 20 days before the start of the next fiscal year.

Under Article 98 of the Constitution, the general and development budgets are prepared in light with Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon’s recommendations before being sent to the Wolesi Jirga for final approval.

mds/ma

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