Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of

updated:2020-08-03    

 

Draft budget amendments recently submitted to parliament would allocate about Af 21 billion (1.4 percent of GDP) for a short-term employment program, processing and storage facilities for agriculture commodities that producers have been unable to export, building industrial parks, purchases of additional hospital beds, and bread distribution to the vulnerable households.


Overall, the authorities plan to spend about 2 percent of GDP for critical pandemic-related spending during the year, with about one third directed to health. With the support of the World Bank, other development partners, and humanitarian agencies, the authorities are developing a social relief package—through cash transfers and, if impractical, in kind—to support food security among socially vulnerable households.


On 29 April 2020,  the government started providing free bread to the needy and poor people in Kabul, and later extended to other cities.


On 28 May 2020, the government waived electricity bills of less than Afs 1,000 (US$ 13) for a family residence in Kabul for two months and paid utility bills of the past two months for 50 percent of households in Kabul. The decision benefits more than 1.5 million Kabul residents.


To ease tax compliance, the government extended filing deadlines on March 20 for individual and business taxpayers to April 3, later extended to July 5.


The 2021 budget includes the following COVID-related spending:


Health package of Af 2.4 billion;


Social package of Af 8.9 billion;


Other Af 3.3 billion.


 

Recognizing that taxpayers were facing liquidity strains, the government extended the tax filing deadline for the first quarter of 2020 by 45 days. No further extensions have been provided. In late 2020, the government offered to waive tax and customs payment penalties if taxpayers clear their due taxes before the end of the first quarter 2021.



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