The Ministry of Finance has started amending the mid-year budget after it was rejected by the parliament due to “lack of balance” and allocation of part of the development budget to the presidential election.
Lawmakers said on July 28 that the Afghan government has allocated Afs4.3 billion ($53.7 million) of a total of Afs6.5 billion ($81.2 million) budget which was allocated for implementation of 154 development projects around the country.
The decision was made last week when the Ministry of Finance reviewed the mid-year budget and sent it to the parliament for approval but the parliament did not approve it and recommended amendments in the draft budget.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the government has allocated Afs124 billion ($155 million) for the development budget.
The upcoming presidential elections budget has been estimated at $149 million. The Afghan government has vowed to pay $90 million of the budget. The remaining $59 million will be paid by the international community.
A spokesman for Ministry of Finance, Shamroz Khan Masjidi, said on Monday that amendments will be brought in the budget of Ministry of Education and State Ministry for Peace Affairs after the mid-year budget was reviewed.
“We will try to add the recommendations of honorable lawmakers in the budget and send it back to the parliament this week,” Masjidi said.
According to lawmakers, Afs521 million ($6.6 million) has been removed from the development budget of the Ministry of Education as the ministry has not been able to spend the budget properly.
MPs said the Ministry of Education has only spent 17 percent of its budget in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
“The Ministry of Education has 25,000 students in hostels and it provides the required facilities to the students. A small percentage of the ordinary budget is for the school rents,” said Baktash Ishchi, deputy head of the Finance and Budget Commission of the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament.
Some MPs said that the amended draft budget will be sent to the parliament on Wednesday where the lawmakers will make a final decision on it.
Nooria Nazhat, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, said in a voice message that the cut in the budget was made without coordination with the ministry.
Critics said that the spending of 17 percent budget shows that there is a lack of management in the Ministry of Education.
“Lack of capacity and a proper plan for budget spending and lack of coordination between central and provincial offices damage budget spending in government institutions,” said Taj Mohammad Talash, an economic affairs analyst.
The Finance Ministry has allocated AFs399 billion ($4.98 billion) for the 1398 fiscal year’s budget, 69 percent of which has been allocated for the standard budget while the remaining 39 percent has been allocated for the development budget.
According to the ministry, from the AFs399 billion, AFs 275 billion ($3.4 billion) will be allocated to the standard budget and the remainder will be put aside for the development budget.