Disagreements rise over budget, as parliament accuses government of dismissing relatives of MPs who raised concerns

8 Subh, Kabul: Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives, told the plenary session on Monday, January 25, that, going beyond political and administrative ethics, the government had dismissed relatives of MPs who had raised “red cards” to reject the budget from their government positions “as threats and retaliation” to put pressure on the House. Rahmani said that these people had served the government for years and their dismissal was not ethically justified.

Habib ul Rahman Pedram, a representative of the people of Herat, also said that the government had fired the relatives of the MPs because they had raised a “red card” about the 2021 budget. However, members of the House of Representatives are often accused of appointing their relatives to key positions in government offices.

The government has not yet responded to these accusations.

The House of Representatives rejected the 2021 budget twice. According to Mir Rahman Rahmani, the budget was rejected the first time due to 17 points of violation and the second time due to 19 points of violation. The parliament is expected to approve the third draft budget at Monday’s session. Rahmani called on the government to include sensible proposals in the draft budget.

The speaker of the House of Representatives said that some on social media described the budget debate as a confrontation between the House of Representatives and the government, while others spread the “fake” report of parliamentarians holding the budget hostage. He stressed that no authority should make unfair judgments and question the honest motives of the representatives for ensuring justice.

The House of Representatives has defined the equalization of the government employee salaries as their red line. The Speaker said he would not back down from the plan approved by the parliament, accusing circles in the Presidential Palace of using the government’s “operative and media facilities” to target the nation’s House.

Rahmani said a provincial trip by the presidency would cost as much as the construction of 10 schools, and that the government had transferred the budget from the sectoral departments to the Presidential Palace’s administrative units.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives accused the “rulers” of the Presidential Palace of privatizing the republic’s values and using them to satisfy their desires.

He called on the government to focus on ensuring the security of the people, instead of targeting the House of Representatives and indulging in propaganda.

Rejection of the draft budget for the second time by the House of Representatives is a rare case. This has pitted the government and the House of Representatives against each other. While the House of Representatives has emphasized that the purpose of rejecting the budget was not to oppose the government, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had earlier made statements about the inclusion of personal projects by the House of Representatives, which angered the House.