Finance Minister Submits Draft Budget to Wolesi Jirga

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The 2017 draft budget was presented to the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Wednesday – with the main focus reportedly being on infrastructural development and security.

This comes amid an ongoing rift between government and MPs following the recent dismissal by them of seven ministers.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi said the main focus in next year’s budget is on infrastructure development and security.

MPs have however warned that they will reject the draft budget if government does not accept their decision to dismiss the seven ministers. Government however handed the matter over to the Supreme Court and ordered them to refer to the constitution in this respect.

“Special focus has been made on security and infrastructure in the next budget (1396) which respectively has 36 and 21 percent share in the budget, 13 percent on education and six percent on agriculture would be allocated,” Hakimi said.

“The draft budget gets is adopted once the national assembly approves it, violation of the law is a crime and criminals must be referred to the court,” said MP Abdul Rahman Rahmani.

“We will not conduct the voting process unless new people are introduced in the place of those ministers who we dismissed, because those ministers failed to spend the budget, therefore we will not refer the new budget to these ministers,” said MP Abdul Qadir Zazai.

Next year’s budget is estimated to be set at about 466 billion AFS. From the total, 288 billion AFS will go towards the ordinary budget and more than 178 billion AFS will be allocated for the development budget.

Some MPs accused the minister of finance of dereliction of duty.

Amid speculations over a possible rift between the government and the parliament, some economic commentators have said that the likely move by parliament over delaying the approval of the budget would not be in the interest of the country and this would hinder the implementation of development projects.

“It is better for him (minister of finance) to review the commissions made by the ministry of finance before going to the house,” said economist Haseebullah Mauhid.

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