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‘Draft budget for next year rejected’

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AT-KABUL: The Wolesi Jirga, or the lower house of the parliament, has rejected the next year’s draft budget, terming lack of balance among the provinces, allocations for unapproved administrative units, and creation of unnecessary positions in some department, as key reason behind the rejection.

Some days back, a number of lower house members had criticized the next year’s budget, saying some of the projects proposed in the could not be implemented in insecure areas of the country.

The draft budget is 357.6 billion afghanis — one billion dollars less than the current year’s accounts. The Ministry of Finance says 267 billion afghanis has been set aside for general expenses and more than 90 billion afghanis for development.

The Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, had approved the draft budget on November 22 before referring it to the Wolesi Jirga with some suggestions.

Amir Khan Yar, the finance commission head of the lower house, told Wednesday’s session that there was no balance in provincial allocations. He said projects worth 76 billion afghanis in the last year’s budget had been dropped.

He claimed allocations had been made for some unapproved administrative units and creation of 22,000 new positions that were unnecessary. But he did not provide details about the administrative units.

“This draft budget proposes the creation of 7,000 posts for a single office of a department, which needs even less than 100 personnel,” he said, without going into details.

Of the 120 lawmakers present, 115 of them voted against the draft. The lower house has rejected the proposed budget just seven 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 Jirga’s recommendations before being sent to the Wolesi Jirga for final approval.