Wahid Omar, presidential adviser, on Wednesday said that the reasons given by parliament for rejecting the draft budget plan are not legitimate, stating that the government and the parliament should continue their discussions to finalize the budget plan.
However, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament have threatened to approve the budget plan through the parliament’s own amendments if the government fails to address the demands of the parliament in the budget plan.
Meanwhile, the speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Mir Rahman Rahmani, said that this year, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has not been allowed to prepare the budget plan, alleging that the National Security Council (NSC) and the Administrative Office of the President have prepared the budget plan.
Lawmakers earlier this week said that the rejection of the budget plan for the second time occurred for many reasons, namely the ambiguity around a Afs15 billion ($ 193.8 million) increase in the ordinary budget for the current fiscal year that started on December 21.
The financial and budget committee of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, said that, based on the budget plan, the government is removing 13,000 public servants, but it has increased the ordinary budget—from which the salaries of government employees are paid.
“There are various reasons that the budget was not approved. From our perspective, these reasons are not logical,” said Wahid Omar, a senior adviser to President Ashraf Ghani.
Lawmakers also said that the government's reluctance to pay the salaries of the Afghan soldiers and government servants is a violation of the law, suggesting the government should ensure payment of salaries from last year’s budget.
“The Afghan nation has no hope for this government, the house of representative does not have any hope either,” said Ziauddin Zia, a member of parliament.
“it means the 1400 (2021) budget has been taken hostage, this is only to ensure that the interests of certain companies are not put in danger,” said Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the lower house of parliament.
Two days ago, going into details of the budget, other lawmakers said that the country is faced with major economic problems, but, in one case, the Administrative Office of the President has asked for the allocation of $30 million for the purchase of vegetables as well as 17 different types of meat.
“The people have nothing eat, but they have ordered 17 types of meat… $30 million is the estimate for their vegetables,” said Khan Agha Rezaee, an MP.
But the government on Tuesday rejected that it had allocated $30 million for the purchase of vegetables.
“Whatever is done by the Ministry of Finance is conducted under the monitoring of the president, this does not mean that the Ministry of Finance does not have the authority,” said Abdul Habib Zadran, the deputy minister of Finance.
“The Office of National Security Council has changed to an office which also conspires against the representatives of the people,” said Khan Agha Rezayee, the head of parliament’s internal security commission.
“The Office of the National Security Council is a policy making organ which is led by the National Security Adviser. He has the responsibility of coordinating among the ministries,” said Rahmatullah Andar, a spokesman for the ONSC.
The financial and budget committee of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, said that, based on the budget plan, the government is removing 13,000 public servants, but it has increased the ordinary budget, a budget from which the salaries of government employees are paid.
On Monday, a group of lawmakers sought a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani to find a solution to the budget plan dispute that has been ongoing for a month. The budget has been rejected by the parliament two times for various reasons, mainly because of a Afs15 billion ($193.8 million) increase in the ordinary budget for the current fiscal year.
The current fiscal year started on December 21, but so far, the budget for fiscal year 1400 has not been approved.