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Afghanistan moving from false to real economy: Mohmand

Afghanistan moving from false to real economy: Mohmand

author avatar
3 Feb 2022 - 17:54
Afghanistan moving from false to real economy: Mohmand
author avatar
3 Feb 2022 - 17:54

KABUL (Pajhwok): Acting head of Chamber of Commerce and Investment has termed the economic situation of Afghanistan as improving and called banking restrictions and frozen assets of the country by the US biggest challenges for investments.

Mohammad Younus Mohmand, acting head of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, also considered prevention of scarcity of goods in markets during the last six months as one of the achievements of the chamber and said, “Now it is up to the Islamic Emirate to seize the opportunity of security, absence of corruption and absence of illegal extortions and convince the international community that Afghanistan has the capacity for big investments.”

The world should discuss its problems with governments and should not involve the general public and the private sector and they should not be harmed, he said.

On the other hand, he in a message to investors and businessmen who have left Afghanistan said there was no threat to them and they could return to their country and play their part in the development of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment was established in 1932 by Afghan businessmen to respond to trade related disputes and bring coherence in trade activities.

Mohmand has been working in different areas of this chamber for several years and has been serving as acting head of the chamber since last two years. He received his education in agriculture and economic planning.

He said that the goal of this chamber is to establish a link between the government and the private sector, so that it can serve the people through the private sector.

Changes under the new administration

Mohmand says major change compared to the last year is that there is no war in the country now and there is an opportunity for Afghanistan to have a self-sustained economy.

“We had a false economy in the previous years, but now we are trying to go from a false economy to a self-sufficient economy,” he said.

“In the past, transit vehicles from Herat to Torkham port paid at about 150 checkpoints, but the problem has been solved for now,” he said, referring to illegal extortions in previous years.

Mohmand says with the new political system and challenges created over the past few months, preventing scarcity of goods in the markets was one of the achievements of this chamber.

Besides that, release of cargo containers in Pakistan’s Karachi port was another achievement as a result of efforts of the chamber, he said.

Export and imports

Mohmand say that Afghanistan’s exports are much higher than last year. “Last year this time, we had $729 million worth exports, but this year our value of exports has reached $1,096 million,” he said.

There are no problems with exports and the process is going normal with different countries,” he said. However, he said that with the arrival of fresh fruit seasons and vegetables, more efforts should be made for marketing of the products and their exports.

He said that imports from various countries were coming normally, and hundreds of trucks full of commercial goods from neighboring countries entered Afghanistan daily.

In response to a question about the status of handicrafts, he said “Last year, carpet exports had increased by 30 percent, but there are some temporary problems right now and efforts are on to encourage donors and organizations to support carpet weavers.”

Challenges and opportunities

Mohmand said that banking restrictions and freezing of Afghanistan’s assets by the United States are the biggest challenge facing the Afghan investors and traders, which he added has a direct impact on investment.

He says the purchase of raw materials and contracts with large companies should be made through banks, but existing challenges and limitations have affected the business sector.

“In the past, we used to spend $200 to $300 to transfer $100,000, but now, after the government change, we have to spend $4,000 to $4,500 for transfer of $100,000,” he said.

However, he said that their activities are going towards normalization.

Mohmand asked the international community to release the frozen assets of Afghanistan, prevent the collapse of banks in the country and pay attention to people’s funds, so that people have open access to their business activities.

“Banks in a country have the status of vessels and the economy as heart, when vessels fail to transfer blood to the heart, everything stops working”, he said.

He believes that Afghanistan needs global assistance which should be used for the country’s self-sustainability.

World and the economy of Afghanistan

Mohmand says that the world should discuss its problems with governments and should not involve the general public and the private sector who should not be harmed.

Hundreds of factories have so far collapsed due to a lack of raw materials, supplies and lack of markets, he said.

However, he termed the opening of the air corridor with China as an achievement through which Afghanistan exported the country’s pine nut products against a good price.

He considered Pakistan’s National Security Advisor’s trip to Afghanistan a positive step and said, “Afghanistan and Pakistan are good economic partners and there is need to have close cooperation with that country.”

He states that during the recent visit of the Pakistani delegation to Kabul, there were good talks on trade and transit.

Currently there is a secure route for transit to central Asia and south Asia and it can be advantageous for Afghanistan, he said.

About India, Mohmand said that India shows low interest but stressed that the country should keep good trade relations with Afghanistan regardless of political issues. He said that India was one of great commercial partners of Afghanistan which exported dry fruit worth $500 million to that country last year.

“Imports through Wagah port are ongoing but with a little sluggishness, we want more commercial traffic between Afghanistan and India,” he said.

“Our goal is that we should have good commercial relations with all the countries,” he said.

Afghanistan’s commercial and economic future

Mohmand said that Afghanistan’s economic situation is improving. “Now we are moving from a false economy to a real economy,” he said. He says that Afghanistan and the international community need each other and mutual communication.

He askedthe Islamic Emirate to convince the international community and the world should also work with Afghanistan.

It is now up to the Islamic Emirate to seize the opportunity of security, absence of corruption and illegal extortions and convince the international community that Afghanistan has the capacity for big investments, he said.

He said that investors and businessmen who have left the country have repeatedly been told that there is no problem for them to return to Afghanistan. Many of them promised to come back to their country, he said.

“If we are able to get benefit of our experts in the commerce area, extract Afghanistan’s mines on standard basis and create a coherent regional and international business, we surely will witness Afghanistan’s self-sustainability,” he said.

mds/ma

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