Finance Minister says they have reduced the development budget allocation in a bid to focus on the existing 38 projects which must be completed.
Finance Minister Defends Next Fiscal Year’s Budget
The Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi who briefed lawmakers on the next fiscal year’s draft budget said the reason they reduced the development budget was the lack of capacity at institutions and a 25 percent drawdown in the international community’s assistance to Afghanistan.
It is the second time that the minister has been summoned to the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament, to discuss the draft budget - even though the new fiscal year has already started.
“The cabinet has decided not to plan any big projects for the next year because we already have 38 projects including big projects which we should work on and complete,” Hakimi told MPs.
“The 25 percent reduction in the international community’s assistance to Afghanistan is one of the reasons for the decrease in the national budget.”
Meanwhile, some legislators called on government to investigate problems in the national budget and to assess ghost projects in previous fiscal budgets.
“We have heard about ghost police, but we are hearing about ghost projects now. This issue must be investigated by government,” said Ramazan Bashardost, an MP from Kabul.
According to the Finance Ministry, the next fiscal year’s budget is 357.691 billion AFs of which 267.769 billion AFs is the ordinary budget while 90.614 billion AFs is the development budget.
Figures by the ministry show that more than half of the national budget is funded by the international community’s assistance to Afghanistan.