Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 18th, 2021

MPs Warn of Serious Development Budget Embezzlement

MPs Warn of Serious Development Budget Embezzlement

KABUL - Members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) warned on Monday that millions of dollars earmarked for development projects in Afghanistan could be embezzled and sent out of the country by officials after the ministry of finance ordered that all development projects be put on hold.
The minister said however that it has called for projects to be prioritized as its dealing with a budget deficit.
“The Finance Ministry has told all other ministries that no projects can be implemented without the approval of the (finance) ministry,” said MP Makhdom Abdullah Mohammadi. He also said the signature of the Acting Finance Minister carries no weight.
Parliament approved the budget for the new fiscal year, 1400, in February following tension between government and the Wolesi Jirga over the document.
The estimated budget for the current year is over 473 billion AFN (nearly $6 billion), including 311 billion AFN ($4 billion) for the regular budget and 162 billion AFN ($2 billion) for the development budget.
Some MPs said money is already being embezzled.
“A clear looting [of government revenue] is underway; the budget is being looted before the eyes of millions of people,” MP Ghulam Husain Naseri said.
Another MP, Allah Gul Mujahed, meanwhile, stated: “We passed the year 1400 budget but projects for the year 1399 (2020) have been postponed to the year 1400 and the Acting Minister of Finance has told the Ministry of Public Works to stop working on development projects. They may want to transfer money [outside Afghanistan].”
The Ministry of Finance, however, stated that the organization has faced a budget deficit.
“We have faced a deficit in the budget; therefore, an official letter has been issued [to the ministries] to create a financial discipline and prioritize national projects and effectively use the national budget,” said Rafi Tabe head of Finance Ministry’s media office. (ATN)