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Taliban prepare new Afghan budget without foreign aid

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A money changer counts Afghani banknotes at the currency exchange market along a street in Kandahar.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan’s Finance Ministry under the Taliban Government has prepared a draft National Budget that, for the first time in two decades, is funded without foreign aid, a spokesman said.

It comes as the country is mired in economic crisis and faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe that the United Nations has called an “avalanche of hunger”.

Finance Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal did not disclose the size of the draft budget — which runs until December 2022 — but said it would go to the Cabinet for approval before being published.

“We are trying to finance it from our domestic revenues — and we believe we can,” he told state television in an interview shared on Twitter.

Global donors suspended financial aid when the Taliban seized power in August and Western powers also froze access to billions of dollars in assets held abroad. The 2021 Budget, put together by the previous administration under IMF guidance, projected a deficit despite 219 billion Afghanis ($2.7 billion at the time) in aid and grants and 217 billion from domestic revenue.

Haqmal accepted that public servants are still owed several months of wages, saying “we are trying our best” to make good on overdue pay by year-end. He warned, however, a new pay scale had also been prepared. – INDIA TODAY

Monday, December 20, 2021 – 01:00

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