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3 ministers brief MPs on budget under-spending

3 ministers brief MPs on budget under-spending

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Dec 18, 2017 - 20:12

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Three ministers on Monday briefed the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon on under-spending their ministries’ development budgets last fiscal year, but the lower house could not make a decision on their fate due to the lack of quorum.

On December 14, the Wolesi Jirga asked the government to remove eight budgetary unit heads and decided to summon 22 units’ officials and introduce 19 heads to judicial organs following the 1395 Fiscal Year expenditure report.

The lower house had summoned the ministers of hajjinfo-icon and Islamic affairs, counternarcotics and water and energy to brief lawmakers about the under-spending.

According to the lower house, the Ministry of Counternarcotics has spent 47 percent of its development budget, the Ministry of Water and Energy 48 percent and the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs 56 percent last fiscal year.

Salamat Azimi, counternarcotics minister, told the house that his ministry had been $23.3 million development budget for 1395 solar yearinfo-icon, but donors cut $7.3 million from the amount later.

He said the counternarcotics ministry had organized 58 projects in total and 35 projects were mentioned in the expenditure report of last year.

The report of 19 projects worth $4 million (20 percent of the budget) had not been added to the expenditure report, he said.

According to the statistics, the Ministry of Counternarcotics spent 70 percent of its budget, he added. Eleven projects that cost 9.5 percent of the development budget could not be implemented due to security reasons, Azimi said.

Ali Ahmad Usmani, water and energy minister, said that insecurity, problems in acquisition of land for projects, failure of contracted companies, problems in planning of budget, social problems and late approval of projects’ money were reasons behind the low budget spending by his ministry.

Without providing more information, he said: “We cannot award projects to companies that fail, there are some companies who took big projects but they failed to complete them, a project that has to be completed in three years remains uncompleted even in five years.”

Fiaz Mohammad Osmani, Hajj and Islamic affairs minister, said that his ministry was given $3.7 million in development budget which was spent all last year.

He said the government had added an additional $2 million to the ministry’s budget in August last year, which was not spent.

“The money was added without a foreknowledge, the ministry then started work on mosques’ construction, which is still underway”, he said.

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, after hearing arguments from the three ministers, said the house could not make a decision due to incomplete quorum.

He said the house would make a decision about the three ministers in next sessions.

The summoning process of officials who spent less than 60 percent of their development budget would continue, he added.

mds/ma

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