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MPs briefed on budget under-spending at 3 ministries

MPs briefed on budget under-spending at 3 ministries

Dec 15, 2018 - 19:36

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members were briefed on Saturday about reasons behind low budget spending by officials of the ministries of water and energy, educationinfo-icon and mines and petroleum during last fiscal year.

The officials, who appeared before the lower house, cited insecurity, technical and procurement problems as main reasons why their ministries could not spend much of the allotted funds, but promised to increase budget spending in the ongoing fiscal year.

The Wolesi Jirga last month rejected the expenditure report of 1396 fiscal year and decided to summon heads of budgetary units who spent less than 70 percent of their budget and remove heads of such units.

The ministries of justice, energy and water, counternarcotics, public works, information and culture, telecommunication and IT, education, mines and petroleum, and transport have spent less than 70 percent of their budgets.

The ministries of energy and water, information and culture, education and mines and petroleum are headed by acting ministers and the Wolesi Jirga cannot summon acting officials.

Wolesi Jirga in today’s session summoned Mohammad Gul Khulami, acting energy and water minister, Sayed Hamidullah Hamidi, deputy education minister and Mahbobullah Rabbani, deputy mines and petroleum minister,to explain the under-spending in 1396 fiscal year.

Khulami, who was introduced as acting energy and water minister three months back, was previously serving as deputy minister. He told the lawmakers said that insecurity, technical, social and climate problems were reasons behind the under spending.

However, he said the water and energy ministry had so far spent 89 percent of its development budget and would rise the spending to 96 percent until the end of the current fiscal year.

Hamidi, deputy education minister, said besides insecurity and technical problems, the transfer of construction projects of the ministry to urban development ministry was another reason of low spending.

Lack of land and non-registration of some schools were other reasons of limited budget spending during last fiscal year, he said, adding that procurement process of projects also delay spending of budget.

Mahbobullah Rabbani, deputy mines and petroleum minister, said that the ministry last year’s development budget was $25 million, of which 11.6 million (more than 46 percent) had been spent.

He said the entire budget could not be utilized due to technical and security problems particularly working on oil wells in Shiberghan, the capital of northern Jawzjan province, and implementation of TAPI project.

The TAPI gas pipeline project was inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani in early 1396 solar yearinfo-icon.

Rabbani said poor low performance of contracted companies and some procurement problems contributed to the under spending.

However, he said the ministry had so far spent 93 percent of its budget this fiscal year that would end in about a month.



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