House approves 14 bln birr supplementary budget
Upon the request made by the government three weeks ago, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR), on Tuesday approved a 14 billion birr (around USD 510 million) supplementary budget to finance natural and unexpected disasters, youth revolving fund and other activities that are being carried out by the federal government.
The additional budget was first proposed by the Council of Ministers for the current fiscal year 2017-18, in addition to the 320.8 billion birr budget that has been endorsed in June 2017, during the previous parliamentary year.
Genet Tadesse, chairperson of the Budget and Finance Standing Committee of the House, explained that this additional budget has come after the two percent in the federal government’s reserve has been consumed overwhelmingly in response to natural disasters that has stricken some parts of the country since the previous year.
According to Genet, out of the total budget endorsed during Tuesday’s regular session, one billion birr would be allocated for financing youth revolving fund while 500 million birr is allocated for enhancement of enrollment capacity of around 11 newly inaugurated universities.
Similarly, 300 million birr and five billion birr has been assigned for the procurement of equipment for the country's digitalization program on TV transmission under the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority (EBA) and for the support and rehabilitation of people affected by natural and manmade disasters, respectively. The remaining 7.2 billion birr is said to be used to finance development programs and offices that encountered budget deficit.
Regarding the source of this supplementary budget, she told MPs that tax and capital revenues are the major sources to cover the requested budget.
In the last two fiscal years (2016-17 and 2015-16), some 28.1 billion birr and 14.8 billion birr had been requested and approved, respectively.
It was to be recalled that, the current fiscal year’s budget of 320.8 billion birr, was allocated mainly for prioritized sectors such as; urban development and construction taking 50.7 billion birr, followed by education, 43.2 billion birr, agriculture and rural development 12.2 billion birr. The amount that was allocated for public debt repayment is 16.9 billion birr, which is more than two-folds from the budget set for sustainable development goals, which is seven billion birr. Similarly, a huge budget was also allocated for industrial park developments as well as revolving youth fund.
It is understood that the budget deficit stands at 53.9 billion birr as well.