The meeting between officials of the Ministry of Finance and MPs ended with signs of flexibility from the government towards lawmakers’ demands as it was agreed to increase the salaries of teachers and public employees by allocating an additional 3 billion Afs ($38 million).
The government also agreed to stop allocating more projects to the presidential operational unit.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry agreed to shift 1 billion Afs ($12 million) from the funds allocated for electricity debts of government institutions to teachers and public employees’ salaries.
Moreover, the officials agreed to include the proposed projects of lawmakers in the budget draft that was previously removed.
The third budget draft is under assessment by the parliament since last Saturday. The parliament has already rejected two drafts of the budget, citing 19 reasons, among them allocation of additional funds to discretionary codes in the budget, lack of balance in government employees’ salaries, the government’s food distribution program and others.
“The Ministry of Finance showed flexibility and the lawmakers also showed flexibility from their side,” said Sayed Ali Kazimi, the deputy minister for parliamentary affairs.
Going into details of the budget draft, the finance and budget committee of the House said Saturday that they have found that the government has also allocated funds for the purchase of six armored vehicles for vice presidents in Code 25 in the third draft of the budget.
“The budgetary unit of the administrative office of the president had suggested the purchase of five vehicles for the first vice president and one for the second vice president," said Azim Keberzani, member of the finance and budget committee of the House.
“We did not specifically discuss these issues. Our discussions were held on codes 22, 23, 24, 25. More discussions will be held within the next few days,” the acting minister of finance Khalid Payenda said.
He expressed hope that the disputed issues between the parliament and the government are resolved in the next three days so that the budget draft is put for voting in the Wolesi Jirga.