Published on 05 Mar 2012 at 08:42
Afghan Finance Minister Mohammad Omar Zakhelwal presented the 1391 [March 2012 – January 2013] fiscal year annual budget for approval to the Afghan Parliament on Saturday, February 25, 2012.
According to the Afghan Constitution, the government [Ministry of Finance] is required to submit the upcoming fiscal year’s core and development budgets within 45 days prior to the end of each fiscal year to the Parliament for review and approval.
The Ministry of Finance developed core and development budgets for fiscal year 1391 based on the needs of governmental sectors. The important sectors include security, infrastructure and natural resources, education, health, agriculture, rural development, rule of law, good governance, economic management and social security. The core budget for fiscal year 1391 is approximately 134.276 billion Afghanis (2.685 billion U.S. dollars) and the development budget is estimated at 110.256 billion Afghanis (2.205 billion U.S. dollars).
Thirty two percent of the entire budget for 1391 is allocated for security sector, 21 percent for infrastructure and natural resources, 13 percent for education, 11 percent for agriculture and rural development, 11 percent for health, 4.6 for good governance and rule of law, and 1.1 percent for social security.
Aziz Shams, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance explains that the government developed separate provincial budgets in consultation with the Afghan Parliament to ensure balanced and equitable budget allocations for all provinces. The provincial budget allocated 5 million U.S. dollars for the 15 less developed provinces and 2 million U.S. dollars for the 19 remaining provinces.
Based on the Financial Affairs and Public Expenditure Law, each government ministry and governmental sector is requested to submit their upcoming year’s proposed budget to the Ministry of Finance in the middle of each fiscal year. The Budget Design Committee (BDC) housed in the Ministry of Finance uses each budget proposal in order to design and develop core and development budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.
The BDC is chaired by the Finance Minister and other members include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Economy and an authorized representative from the Office of the President. The BDC also has a consultative member who is selected from different government ministries on a rotating basis to serve for a term of one year. This year’s consultative member is a representative from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
Following this initial phase of budget development, the BDC holds many meetings with representatives from all government sectors to assess their capacity in spending the proposed budget. The BDC also reviews each ministry’s or sector’s expenditure reports from the past fiscal year. Based on each ministry’s proposed budget and programs, the BDC develops an annual budget and sends it to the Council of Ministers for review.
The government developed separate provincial budgets in consultation with the Afghan Parliament to ensure balanced and equitable budget allocations for all provinces. The provincial budget allocated 5 million U.S. dollars for the 15 less developed provinces and 2 million U.S. dollars for the 19 remaining provinces.
Based on Article 98 of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers reviews the budget and proposes changes as necessary. The budget is then sent to the two houses of Parliament for review: first to the Upper House (Meshrano Jirga) and then to the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) with recommended changes from the Upper House. Parliament is able to call upon the Ministry of Finance to solicit information and clarification on the proposed budget. The Lower House’s revised budget is enforced after an endorsement by the president and it does not need to be submitted again to the Upper House.
According to the Constitution, government ministries are allowed to spend from the previous year’s budget in the event that the new fiscal year budget is not approved before the start of new fiscal year. In addition to the new fiscal year budget, the government must submit fourth quarter expenditures of the current fiscal year for Parliament’s review. According to Article 27 of the Financial Affairs and Public Expenditure Law, the Ministry of Finance has to present the new fiscal year’s budget 45 days before the current fiscal year ends.
The Afghan Constitution mandates that Parliament approve the budget within one month. The budget is adopted as it was submitted to Parliament if the Parliament delays approval for more than the month allowed by the Constitution.
The Ministry of Finance presents both core and development budgets to the legislature. The core budget includes operational expenses of the government entities, including personnel, transportation and other routine ministry expenses. The core budget’s ceiling changes based on increases or decreases in the number of government employees or offices.
Compared to the 1390 annual budget, there is an 11 percent decrease in the 1391 annual budget. “The Afghan government decided to begin the upcoming 1392 fiscal year on Jadi [January 2013] and so the 1391 annual budget is only for nine months,” said Shams. Major portions of the core budget are allocated among four entities, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior and the National Directorate of Security.
The Afghan government designs its development budget based on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), which was established as the country’s strategic agenda for multi-sector development for the period between 2008 and 2013.
According to Shams, ANDS is the main guiding document for the design of development programs as reflected in the annual budget. “The Afghan government has already agreed to ANDS and the Ministry of Finance has to implement it,” he said.
The 1391 fiscal year’s development budget is estimated at 110.256 billion Afghanis (2.205 billion U.S. dollars), which represent a 40 percent increase compared to fiscal year 1390. The most significant portions of the 1391 development budget are allocated to the ministries of Public Works, Public Health, Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Energy and Water.
Shams states that the Afghan government decided to incorporate capacity building measures to ensure that government ministries will be able to use their budgets properly.
- Three Reasons Not to Leave Afghanistan (That Liberals Will Love) - Huffington Post (blog)
- Afghanistan's Karzai seeks Indian military aid amid tensions with Pakistan - Yahoo! News
- China manoeuvres to create space for itself in Afghanistan - Times of India
- Soldier comes home from Afghanistan to find wife shed 100 pounds - New York Daily News
- Canadian military gear stranded in Afghanistan - CBC.ca
- Law Protecting Afghanistan Women Blocked By Conservatives - Huffington Post - Huffington Post
- Powerful blast hits governor's compound in northern Afghanistan - Press TV
- What A Deployment Looks Like Through An Air Force Photographer's Lens - Business Insider
- Soldier from Elk Ridge killed in Afghanistan - Daily Herald - Daily Herald
- Wyoming native among 3 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan - The Missoulian