Following weeks of tensions between the government and the Wolesi Jirga over the annual budget for the fiscal year 1400 (2021), the government last week sent an amended draft to the parliament for the third time.
The estimated budget for the fiscal year 1400 is over 473 billion Afs (nearly $6 billion), including 311 billion Afs ($4 billion) for the regular budget and 162 billion Afs ($2 billion) for the development budget.
In the third and latest draft, 105 million Afs ($1.3 million) has been shifted to the regular budget from the development budget.
Meanwhile, the regular budget, as usual, is twice as large as the development budget.
According to the budget draft, 46 percent of the estimated amount is provided by internal sources.
There is a 1 Afs increase in the total budget of the 3rd draft compared to the 2nd draft.
The National Dining Table Program has been removed from the 3rd draft but its estimated cost of 19 billion Afs ($244 million) has not been reduced from the total budget. This comes as the government has said that it has already spent $160 million of the fund for the program.
Contrary to the demands of MPs, 19.3 billion Afs (over $244 million) has been allocated for discretionary fund codes, which shows an increase of 550 million Afs ($7 million) compared to the 2nd draft.
The fund has been allocated for 18 discretionary codes within the ordinary budget and 11 discretionary codes within the development budget.
The 3rd draft calls for 22 billion Afs ($283 million) more than last year’s budget while no new government jobs are called for, and 17,000 jobs were recently cut from the government institutions, according to the third draft document seen by TOLOnews.
As seen in the third draft, over 3 billion Afs has been deducted from Code 22, but the reduction has not left any impact on the budget. The fund was allocated for capacity building programs of the government.
In another part of the third draft budget, the government has set up a new code to regulate the salaries of the employees. The government has allocated 1.6 billion Afs for it.
In the third draft budget, it has been stated that in the future, all projects under the monitoring of the Presidential Operational Unit will be implemented in coordination with other state institutions and that the operational unit of the Presidential Palace will have only a monitoring role.
Meanwhile, the issue of revenues of some municipalities is still unclear in the third budget draft.
In the third draft, the budget deficits are estimated to 37 billion Afs as was predicted in the second draft too.
In the draft budget, the government has also suggested a 17 billion Afs loan from the international monetary institutions to complete the government’s financial needs.
The Ministry of Finance last week said that amendments have been applied to a third draft for the current fiscal year’s budget plan, which tried to equalize public servants’ salaries.
The current fiscal year started on December 21, 2020, but it has not been approved by the parliament so far due to various reasons, namely balancing salary scale for government institutions and the budget allocated for discretionary codes, among others.