KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Wolesi Jirga members on Monday warned of not approving the 2021 draft budget until balance in provincial allocations is maintained and new ministers-designate are introduced for a trust vote.
The lower house has previously rejected the draft budget for next fiscal year over elimination of 1,100 provincial projects and a surge in funds for government’s codes. During his trip to Nangarhar province, President Ashraf Ghani had said lawmakers wanted their 2,000 projects to be included in the draft budget and therefore they rejected the budget.
The government had also announced that the Wolesi Jirga could only reject or approve the draft budget but could not bring amendments to it. Government officials and president’s remarks irked lawmakers as Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a lawmaker from Herat province, said: “The president’s remarks on budget are against the law. The Wolesi Jirga according to the law has the authority to bring changes to the budget document — an authority specifically bestowed upon the house by the Constitution.”
AbasIbrahimzada, second deputy speaker of the house, said “The law is being violated by powerful individuals who have executive powers in their hands.” He termed the 2021 draft budget as unjust and unbalanced and added the eradicated projects had been suggested by the people to their lawmakers.
“The Wolesi Jirga will approve the budget for the next fiscal year when the remaining ministers-designate are referred to the house, balance is ensured in the budget, eliminated projects are made part of the budget and the Wolesi Jirga resolution regarding Kabul mayor is implemented,” he said. Syed Azeem Kabarzani, Wolesi Jirga Finance and Budgetary Commission secretary, said the Ministry of Finance did not provide details regarding the allocation of 16.9 billion afs to Ehtyat Code, and 3.6 billion afs to 91 and 92 codes.
He said the draft budget had several problems and the government wanted to bring the future generations under debt by borrowing money. Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani said the president held a dark view regarding the Constitution and added the house would not allow embezzlement of public funds under the pretext of discretionary use.
He asked the government to respect Wolesi Jirga resolutions and return an amended draft of the budget for approval. He said the house will approve the budget if their recommendations are included, minister-designates are referred and newly created budgetary units are eradicated.