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Taliban’s first annual Afghan budget foresees $501 million deficit -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Mawlavi Abdul Salm Hanafi, Afghan Deputy Prime Minister, speaks at a ceremony to hoist the Taliban flag in Kabul (Afghanistan), March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Ali Khara/File Photo

By Mohammad Yunus Yawar

KABUL, (Reuters) – Afghanistan has a budget deficit at 44 billion Afghanis ($501 millions) in this fiscal year. However, Taliban officials said Saturday that the Afghan authorities did not clarify how the gap between anticipated revenues and spending would be filled.

Abdul Salam Hanafi (Deputy Prime Minister) announced that this year’s national budget was the first since the Taliban took control of the war-torn nation in August 2013. He stated that the government planned spending 231.4 billion Afghanis annually and earning 186.7 million domestically.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, spokesperson for Finance Ministry said that revenues were collections from customs and ministries related to mines.

The foreign aid that successive Western-backed governments have relied on since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 has been a major source of support. Foreign forces pulled out of Afghanistan in August 2021. This led to the fall of the government, and the takeover by the Taliban.

Although the Taliban is recognized internationally, it has yet to be officially acknowledged by the world. While the country deals with increasing security concerns and an economic crisis, aid agencies work out ways to assist 50 million Afghans while not allowing Taliban access to funding.

Hanafi claimed that the budget for this year’s financial year (which runs through February) had been approved and confirmed by Haibatullah Akhunzada of the Taliban. It would be used only local funds.

According to him, development would cost 27.9 Billion Afghanis. However, the breakdown of expenditures on other areas, such as defense, was not provided.

Hanafi explained that they have focused on higher education as well as technical and education. “Our focus is to make education accessible to all,” Hanafi added.

After agreeing to an earlier start date, Taliban officials have yet to permit the resumption of education for older girls in the country.

($1 = 87.7500 afghanis)