The Credibility of the Afghan National Budget is under question

Ibrahim Khan | @IbrahimReflects

Integrity Watch held a Press Conference on the National Launch of the Budget Credibility Report on May 12, 2019. According to this report, Afghanistan has been placed in the third category with the average absolute deviation of 41-60% in the National Budget. The research for this assessment of the Budget Credibility Project was conducted in 23 countries and in collaboration with 24 Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s). The major issue which was analyzed in Afghanistan’s case for this project was the continuous shortfalls in the execution of Development Budget for the years 1393-97.

Budget credibility describes the ability of governments to accurately and consistently meet their expenditure and revenue targets in accordance with what it plans at the start of the fiscal year. This research also focused on the explanations which are provided by the government if it deviates from the plans.  This research found that there were consistent changes in the National Budget figures for the entirety of the fiscal year. In contrast the explanation provided by the Government for these deviations from the planned budget was limited and general in nature.

Sayed Ikram Afzali, the Executive Director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan who was present at the Press Conference said: “The continuous deviations and changes from the planned budget together with the failure to provide any comprehensive justification or adequate explanation for these changes raises questions about the credibility of the budget process.’’ He further added: “For the sake of accountability, the government needs to provide more detailed information and a comprehensive explanation for the changes that were made in the National Budget.”

The National Budget is a document where the government makes promises regarding revenue and expenditure targets, gives details on the implementation of different development projects and services, and details what are their macroeconomic goals. When the government fails to keep such promises and then fails to communicate the reasons for this then this obstructs the accountability of Government to the people. Therefore, for the sake of accountability, the government must provide a more comprehensive explanation and justification together with detailed information on the changes which were made in the National Budget components.’’