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Meshrano Jirga to hold budget session tomorrow

Meshrano Jirga to hold budget session tomorrow

Nov 05, 2017 - 21:36

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is expected to present the budget draft for 1397 solar year before an extraordinary session of the Meshrano Jirga on Monday (tomorrow).

Mohammad Asif Sidiqi, 2nd deputy chairman of Meshrano Jirga, on Sunday said the State’s Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs had asked the upper house through a formal letter to hold an extraordinary meeting for submission of the budget draft by the MoF.

According to him, the parliamentary affairs ministry has demanded the session to be conducted on Monday because the following days the Finance Minister would accompany the President on official tour abroad for a few days.

If the session wasn’t held tomorrow and the budget not presented to the Meshrano Jirga, then the accounts’ approval would be postponed, the lawmaker said.

Moalim Lalagul, a public representative from Parwan at the upper house, said: “Despite promises,  the finance minister and the president did not incorporate our suggestions in the budget, so there is no need to send the budget to us, it should be directly presented to the Wolesi Jirga for approval.”

However, based on the Constitution, a draft budget shall be sent to Wolesi Jirga or lower house after its approval by the Meshrano Jirga.

“We have many questions from the finance minister regarding last year’s budget as the development budget, which is people’s basic need, has not been properly used. In this case, how can we receive the next year’s draft budget?”

Based on reports few days back, about 31 percent of the current fiscal year’s development budget has been spent so far.

Dawood Ghafari, another member of the upper house said, “There is no need that we hold an extraordinary meeting because the finance minister has to go on a foreign trip.”

A number of other members also held similar views, saying the finance minister should first respond to questions from lawmakers before presenting the draft budget.

At the end, the issue was put to vote and the majority of upper house members voted in favor of holding tomorrow’s extraordinary meeting.