Kabul: Afghanistan faces a budget deficit of 44 billion Afghans ($501 million) this fiscal year, the country’s Taliban authorities said on Saturday without clarifying how the gap between expected revenue and planned spending will be filled.
Announcing the first annual national budget since the Taliban took over the war-torn country in August last year, Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi said the government expected spending of 231.4 billion Afghans and domestic revenue of 186.7 billion. “The revenue is collections from customs-related departments, ministries and mines,” Finance Ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal said.
In 2021, foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan, leading to the collapse of the government and the Taliban’s seizure of power. The country is grappling with an economic collapse, while aid agencies figure out how to help 50 million Afghans without giving the Taliban direct access to funds.
Hanafi said the budget for the current fiscal year, which runs until next February, had been confirmed by Taliban Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhunzada and would use local funds only. The development works will occupy 27.9 billion Afghans, he said, but did not provide a breakdown of defense spending. “We have paid attention to education and higher education and our whole focus is on how to pave the way for education for all,” he said. Reuters