The Afghan Senate, the Meshrano Jirga (the House of Elders), held a special session a day before their winter recess, during which they highlighted their achievements and called for more work on the next fiscal year’s budget, especially discussion about the allotment of money to certain projects.
A lack of one-third of the senate, however, has affected their activities over the past year.
Over the last year, the Senate has approved 37 legislative documents and 20 agreements and has held 63 general sessions, according to its members.
The senate has also summoned more than 630 government officials to the general sessions and committee meetings.
Some legislators spoke about projects that have been included in the next fiscal year’s budget and said these projects should be excluded from the budget document – which is under assessment by the Wolesi Jirga – the lower house of the parliament.
“The minister of finance had committed with us to approve each and every project (with senators). This should be followed-up on because the Wolesi Jirga will approve the budget on Wednesday (January 22),” Senator Zalmay Zabuli said.
“Four members of the administrative board led by Mr. (Mohammad Alam) Ezedyar – the deputy speaker of the house – will follow this issue,” the senate Speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said.
One-third of the Senate’s seats – from a total of 102 seats – have been empty since 2014 as the district councils’ elections were not held at that time.
“It (the number of Senate’s seats) should be completed,” said Ghulam Muhayuddin Munsif, head of the legislative committee of the house.
“We began our work with 68 members--with a lack of one-third of the members who should be introduced after district councils’ elections,” said Faisal Sami, deputy secretary of the senate. “Mr. President did not introduce them, and it was a ‘big mistake’ and a big gap over the past five years.”
The senate speaker also said that contrary to the people’s beliefs, the house is not under the government’s influence when it comes to its decisions.
“Everyone has their own views and there is no pressure on them, and you can see that there are no commands (over them),” he said.
Senators will start their winter recess on Tuesday and it will last for 45 days.