The government has begun cutting 17,000 jobs, but according to the latest draft of the annual budget, the reduction in jobs has not impacted the total allocated expenses, as the total has remained the same as the previous draft.
The Ministry of Finance admitted that the reduction in jobs does not affect the total budget for fiscal years.
The third draft of the current fiscal year’s budget meanwhile has not called for a change in government employees’ salaries, which lawmakers suggested was a possible government strategy. MPs have rejected the first two drafts of the budget.
“There should be a change in the total of the budget if there are job cuts. The discussions (on the budget) are underway,” said Azim Kebarzani, an MP from Herat and a member of the finance and budget committee of the House.
The two proposed drafts of the fiscal year 1400 budget show that low-income employees of the ministries of justice, interior affairs, public health, finance, mines and petroleum, public works and transportation have been removed from their jobs. The job cuts cover over 60 budgetary units.
Critics say the job cuts do not touch institutions considered inefficient or those called out for running parallel, redundant operations for the government.
“There is a 21 billion Afs ($271 million) increase while there should have been 5 billion Afs ($64 million) decrease if there are 21,000 job cuts,” said Abdul Rauf Inami, an MP.
“What will the fate be of the thousands who are losing their jobs?” asked Keramuddin Rezazada, an MP.
The government’s structure includes 882,000 posts, according to the third draft, but it has not mentioned the 17,000 job cuts.
“Reductions or additions to government jobs have no impact on the total of the budget because the Ministry of Finance is paying the salaries of appointed officials not based on the approved structure,” said Faridullah Nawekht, head of the media office of the Ministry of Finance.
The third budget draft for the current fiscal year that started on December 21, 2020, predicts 199 billion Afs ($2.5 billion) for government employees’ salaries.
Of this, 135 billion Afs ($1.7 billion) has been allocated for the ministries of defense, interior affairs and education.