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Afghan parliament passes budget
4. June 2006, 13:53

KABUL (The News) - The Afghan parliament approved its first national budget on Saturday after allowing for a pay hike for civil servants that had delayed its passage by a fortnight, officials said.

The parliament rejected the budget two weeks ago saying it did not go far enough to improve civil servant salaries, which start at around $60 a month.

But cuts in certain areas approved on Saturday would allow the government to raise civil servant salaries by 300 Afghani, or six dollars, said a spokesman for the parliament secretariat, Haseeb Noori.

There are around 325,000 civil servants in Afghanistan, excluding those in the military, state-owed enterprises and municipality.

The budget also provides for a two-dollar rise in the state grant to people disabled in the country’s decades of war. The money for the rises was found after spending was cut from other areas, including around four million dollars from the public works and the president’s office, 1.5 million from defence and 1.2 million from education, Noori said.

This meant the ordinary budget remained unchanged at about $800 million. A separate development budget amounted to around $1.2 billion.

Around two-thirds of Afghanistan’s budget comes from international donors, many of whom channel billions of dollars more spent on development and security outside the national budget.

The parliament was inaugurated in December after the first general elections in war ravaged Afghanistan in three decades.

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