DUSHANBE, November 16, Asia-Plus - Committees and commissions of the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) have begun discussing a draft national budget for 2007. 

The Majlisi Namoyandagon Committee on Energy, Industry and Construction, in particular, held a meeting to discuss the draft budget on November 16.  

During the meeting it was noted that the draft budget projects expenditure of 2 million somonis (some US$590 million) on the delivery of basis municipal services, which is nearly 300,000 somonis fewer that in this year’s budget.  The committee head Mirzosharif Islomiddionov proposed to double expenses on the delivery of basic municipal services.  

The committee member Shodi Shabdolov telling the meeting dwelled on the issues related to the energy sector.  He noted that it is impossible to attract potential investors without carrying out geophysical works.  “Tajikistan annually spends 25 million US dollars on import of natural gas and some 200 million US dollars on imports of oil products, which is a heavy burden on the country’s budget,” Shabdolov said, pointing to the necessity of developing and processing local gas and oil deposits.  

In 2007, 572 million somonis are expected to be spent on the energy sector.  Representatives from the Ministry of Finance attending the meeting noted that of this amount, 15 million somonis will be used for the construction of Sangtuda-1 power plant.  They noted that the amount projected by the budget in the energy sector does not stipulate expenditure on the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power station.  

Shabdolov also noted that it is necessary to tighten control over fulfillment of the country’s budget.

Discussion of the draft budget for 2007 will last until November 22 and after that it will be submitted for consideration to the session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon. 

Finance Minister Safarali Najmuddinov told journalists on October 18 that Tajikistan’s national budget for 2007 will be nearly 3.2 billion somonis (equivalent to US $944 million).  Social spending will account for 49% of budget allocations, with 15.5% earmarked for public education alone. 

Najmuddinov said revenues are projected to be nearly 3.2 billion somonis (about US $944 million) and expenditures at 3.3 billion somonis (US $973.45 million). 

The budget projects expenditure of 506 million somonis in the education sector, which is 5.3 percent of the budget. In 2006, public education accounted for 4.5 percent of the budget and in 2006 1.2 percent, according to the minister.  In 2007, 572 million somonis are expected to be spent on the energy sector.  The budget earmarks 5.6 per5cent, or 536 somonis, for the transportation-communication system.