Lawmakers in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (the lower house of parliament) on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of the amendments proposed in the 1399 (2020) budget plan by the Afghan government after making some minor changes.
However, the lawmakers rejected the allocation of billions of afs--proposed by the government--to cover the needs of several government entities.
In the budget plan, the government proposed 4.5 billion afs for the Operation and Support Office of the President for National Development (OSOPND), 1.7 billion afs for the provinces, 350 million afs for industrial parks, 650 million afs for covering the salaries of employees of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and 190 million afs for the High Council of National Reconciliation.
On Wednesday, acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal was summoned to the parliament to clarify the government’s decision to amend the budget plan in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government had also proposed 260 million afs for National Radio Television. But the parliament reduced the amount to 160 million afs.
“The amendments to the ordinary budget are about 5.7 billion afs, and for development there is 15.2 billion afs,” said Abdul Rauf Enaami, the head of parliament’s finance commission.
Some MPs meanwhile urged their colleagues to reject the amendments.
“If you (government) introduce your cabinet, we will endorse the budget; otherwise, our presence here doesn’t have any meaning,” said Khan Agha Rezayee, a lawmaker.
“Since the start of the current year, there is about an 18 billion afs increase in the national budget, 12.2 billion is for the development budget and 5.7 billon afs is for the ordinary budget,” said Farid Nawakht, the head of the media department of the Ministry of Finance.
The Afghan parliament approved the fiscal year’s budget plan in January.
The budget totals 428 billion afs, with 289 billion afs allocated for the "ordinary" budget and 139 billion afs for development.