Wolesi Jirga approves revised budget

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga (lower house) on Wednesday approved the revised budget for the current fiscal year, but suspended allocations for offices of the Chief Executive and economic advisor.
On Dec. 24, the lower house had rejected the proposed accounts by a majority vote, calling the draft budget imbalanced and having serious flaws.
Afghanistan’s fiscal year begins on December 22. The draft was approved by the Council of Ministers and then Meshrano Jirga sent it to Wolesi Jirga with some recommendations on Dec 9.
MPs had cited imbalance in allocations to provinces and no funding for some incomplete projects from the previous fiscal year, insufficient allocations for Afghan students abroad and no clarification of necessary codes.
But Wolesi Jirga’s Finance Commission head Amir Yar Khan informed Wednesday’s session that the Finance Ministry had returned the draft budget with some changes, as suggested by the lower house.
He said the amendments included funding for incomplete projects, increased funds for the establishment of Islamic Studies Centres and allocations for the ministries that had obtained loans from different companies.
He added the ministry had urged the assembly to approve funds for CEO and economic advisor offices. Either representatives of both organs be summoned by the MPs or funds approved for them, the ministry suggested.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi ruled allocations for the two state entities should not be spent until the assembly approved their structure.
Yar said five-year privileges for ministers, directors and presidential advisors, as ordered by Karzai, had been rejected by a majority of vote.
The Ministry of Finance says the general budget is worth $275 billion and development spending $183 billion -- 70 percent coming from foreign aid.
Under Article 98 of the Constitution, the general and development budgets are prepared in light of Meshrano Jirga recommendations before it is sent to Wolesi Jirga for a final decision.


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