The Meshrano Jirga -- upper house of the parliament -- on Sunday approved two legislative decrees issued by the president, exempting security bosses from holding acting charge and imposing a 10 percent tax on mobile-phone users.
But the Senate, while endorsing the presidential decrees, proposed the cost of a one-minute call be reduced to one afghani. The communications commission head, Javed Rauf, placed the legislative decree before the house for approval.
He suggested the per minute cost of a phone call from one telecom network to another should be brought down to one afghani, because the real price was only five cents.
Most members of the Meshrano Jirga accepted the suggestion floated by the communications commission chief. The cost of one minute is currently two to three and a half afghanis.
After the lower house returned from the break, lawmakers had rejected the levy on October 14, with the financial and budgetary commission calling the action against Article 79 of the Constitution.
Article 79 says: “During parliament recess, the government shall, in case of an immediate need, issue legislative decrees except in matters related to budget and financial affairs. Legislative decrees, after endorsement by the president, shall need parliament’s approval.”
Exemption of security organs
The Wolesi Jirga, or lower house, had approved in June a draft amendment to the law that no government official could remain in an acting position for more than two months.
However, President Ashraf Ghani excluded security organs from the law during the summer recess of parliament. This legislative decree was also approved by the Meshrano Jirga by a majority vote.
Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said both decrees had been referred to a joint delegation of the two houses. The Wolesi Jirga had previously rejected the presidential decrees.
Under the constitution, if one house rejects decisions of the other, a joint commission comprised of an equal number of members from each house should be formed to resolve the difference.
The decision of the commission, after endorsement by the president, shall be enforced. If the joint commission does not sort out the difference, the decision shall be considered rejected.