KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan Industries and Mines Chamber (AIMC) head Sherbaz Kaminzada has said that there will be peace dividend if the Doha process can end the fighting. He said hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in the post-peace era in the country which will help eradicate poverty gradually.
He said based on available resources in the country, the government annual budget would be funded through revenue from investment, industry and mining activities.
Destructive war causes poverty:
Afghanistan remains a battle ground from the past four decades, this war has claimed millions of lives, inflicted economic loss and according to the statistics, currently 47 percent people in the country live under the poverty line while 18.5 million others suffering from unemployment.
Last year on July 29th President Ashraf Ghani had said that 90 percent of Afghanistan’s population earn $2 daily thus they live under the poverty line. Last year, according to a report on July 21 from the Labour Foundation, 18 million people in Afghanistan are unemployed.
Hope for peace and development:
Intra-Afghan talks kicked off last year after US and Taliban Doha Agreement, but after eight months, the negotiating teams had only agreed on procedural rules and deliberations on the agenda of talks are underway.
However, efforts for peace on national and international level have been underway and it is hoped that after achieving peace, Afghanistan will move towards economic self-reliance and prosperity.
Sherbaz Kaminzada is among those who are optimistic about economic prosperity in the post peace era.
During an exclusive interview, he said that after the establishment of peace besides Afghan investors, tens of foreign investors — Chinese, Arabs and others — will invest in the country’s industry and mining sector.
Kaminzada, who is a resident of Maidan Wardak’s Chak district, said that back in 1993 he for the first time started printing and publication business. “We only don’t have peace and all other opportunities are available in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Most investment opportunities are in areas where challenges are there, in Afghanistan an investor could make small amount of investment to kick start a business because Afghanistan is a suitable place from the investment point of views,” he said.
He said mines excavation, introducing proper mechanism for agriculture and water management could help Afghanistan achieve economic sufficiency.
Kaminzada said: “Neighbouring nations and regional countries’ economic development is linked with the peace in Afghanistan because our country is rich in energy and mineral resources and Afghanistan could help accelerate development in the region.”
The director of Afghanistan chamber of industries and mines said industrial capital was not transferable and that they were craftsmen who could not transfer a factory abroad. “Factories are the national capital and play a significant role in development of a country.”
Kaminzada claimed there were factories in Afghanistan including printing, packaging, producing electricity transformers and producing A4-size papers, adding these factories might be moved abroad due to security concerns but if the security was established then not only these factories would not move their capital abroad but would bring their foreign capital to the country.
According to him, earlier investors believed that Afghanistan could not be an industrial country due to security threats but now such beliefs do not exist.
He said there are over 5,000 active factories in Afghanistan which have employed around 300,000 individuals in the country.
Kaminzada said unemployment would be addressed and every Afghan would be self-reliable once a permanent peace is established and domestic and foreign investors are attracted to invest in Afghanistan’s mines.
“Many foreigner and domestic investors are waiting for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan in order to invest in industries and mine extraction; I intend to invest in mines extraction and the Chinese and Arabs are ready to invest in Afghanistan if laws are flexible and if peace is established and power issues are resolved then I assure Afghans that no one would be unemployed,” he said.
But he reminded that it would at least take five years after peace to begin extraction of mines, adding that currently around $30b to $40b are invested in the country’s industrial development and it can be anticipated that establishment of peace would pave ground for investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in the country.
Kaminzada urged the government and Taliban to put more efforts into establishment of peace, adding that investment in the industry and mines could procure the country’s budget and that half of the country’s budget is paid by foreigners.
“We want a peace where every Afghan of every tribe and sect is safe and we could freely travel everywhere and a peace that protects our properties, children and families,” he said.