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Wolesi Jirga OKs budget with hike in development spending

Wolesi Jirga OKs budget with hike in development spending

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Jan 17, 2018 - 15:08

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon on Wednesday approved the national budget for 2018, with an increase of 17 billion afghanis in development funds.  The Afghan fiscal year began on December 22.

Earlier, Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon -- or upper house of the parliament -- had passed the draft budget on November 22, with some recommendations to the Wolesi Jirga.

On December 16, the lower house had rejected the draft budget -- proposing 267.2 billion afghanis in general funds and 93.7 billion afghanis in uplift spending. The projected accounts lacked balance, it had said.

The rejected draft lacked balance among provinces, suggested new administrative units and planned creating unnecessary posts in government departments.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently sent the revised version of the draft budget to the house, which once again severely criticised it.

On Monday, some lawmakers spurned the revised version, saying the issue of imbalance in projects for different provinces remained unaddressed. MPs said claimed provinces had been granted many uplift projects at the expense of others.

But Amir Khan Yar, head of the Wolesi Jirga economic commission, said some 17 billion afghanis had been added to the development budget in the revised version of draft budget.

Eight percent of projects dropped in the earlier draft have been included and proposed administrative units, to which additional funds were allocated, reduced from 10 to six.

In addition, the precautionary budget of 56 billion afghanis has been slashed to 54 billion afghanis. He added the 161 billion afs of the projected funds was expected from government revenue and the rest from foreign aid.

Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi said the draft budget had been prepared based on available resources and international standards. With its approval, he hoped, the global community’s trust in the Afghan government would increase.

Similarly, he said, the government would be able to attract more foreign aid through the national budget. Of the 152 lawmakers present, 122 voted in favour of the budget.

nh/mud

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