There was no progress in Monday’s meeting between members of the finance and budget committee of the Afghan parliament and the Finance Ministry officials on the third budget draft's 19 disputed points, including the continuation of some voted-out ministers in government institutions.
The meeting was expected to show progress as it was held after eight days of consultations over the latest budget draft.
The government on Saturday showed flexibility toward some demands by the parliament as it agreed to increase the wages of public employees and teachers and stop awarding projects to the presidential operations office, among two others. But the main issue in Monday's session was the disagreement on removed development projects.
“Mr. Eshchi, stay calm… The thing is that we should discuss any article that is under debate,” said Mir Afghan Safi, head of the finance and budget committee of the House.
“We agreed to add funds to the salaries’ code, but we did not agree on 6 billion Afs. Another point is that we want to implement it after the mid-year assessment of the budget and, as I heard, you want it to be implemented from the beginning of the year,” said Naseer Ahmad, head of the budget department of the Ministry of Finance.
Some lawmakers questioned the continuation of the caretaking trend in a number of government institutions, saying that addressing this matter is a precondition for them to pass the budget draft.
“One of the articles should mention that their signature is not legitimate in administrative affairs, and, if they sign, they will be responsible for the law,” said Azim Mohseni, a member of the finance and budget committee of the House.
“When the Constitution says that voted-out ministers should not continue, they should not continue,” said Babur Jamal, an MP from Faryab.
Other MPs meanwhile said they don’t see any commitment in the Ministry of Finance to add the removed projects to the third budget draft for the current fiscal year.
“The projects that were accepted in 1398 (2019) and 1399 (2020)--today they have been removed and are replaced by newly-promised projects in the fiscal year 1400,” said Fazl Karim Aimaq, an MP from Kunduz.
“The initial works of a project were done but it was removed from the budget draft,” said Ziauddin Aryaee, an MP.
The current fiscal year started on December 21, 2020. The budget draft was rejected twice by lawmakers, something that has happened for the first time. The MPs are insisting that their demands be met by the government to help them approve the budget plan.