KABUL (Pajhwok): Calling the re-opening of the air corridor with India ‘a good and important development’, analysts say the government should strengthen the export sector for self-sufficiency, take advantage of available economic opportunities and establish new economic relations with countries.
If the government increases domestic production and exports, the analysts believe, the move will create work opportunities and stabilize Afghanistan’s economy.
To promote trade with India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry yesterday announced re-opening the air corridor between Afghanistan and India which was activated three years ago.
Last month, 20 tons of pine nuts were exported to China, 12 tons of pine nuts worth $400,000 sent to Germany from Herat yesterday and today about 75 tons of pine were exported to China through the air corridor.
The annual value of Afghanistan’s pine nut exports is estimated at two billion dollars.
Economic affairs expert Qais Muhammad Mohammadi told Pajhwok Afghanistan’s good relations with its economic partners were crucial.
Economic relations between Afghanistan and India almost came to a halt during the last one year and the re-opening of the air corridor was important for strengthening trade relations between the two countries, he opined.
He asked the caretaker government to revive air corridors established during the previous government and avail economic opportunities that the previous government failed to utilize and improve export relations with other countries.
He added: “Unfortunately, Afghanistan’s trade balance was negative in the past 20 years because imports were high and exports were low, which represented a bad economic situation, but in the context of Afghanistan, it was acceptable because Afghanistan was dependent on foreign aid”.
He said the current government should use old institutions, work on domestic production, strengthen the export sector and this way earn foreign currency.
He suggested the government should open air corridors for export goods which had a good value in world’s markets.
“If we boost domestic production and exports, foreign countries as well as neighboring countries will invest in Afghanistan. Currently Iran and Pakistan are struggling with economic issues and the US has slapped sanctions on Iran.”
He believed if facilities for increasing domestic production were created, it would create jobs and reduce poverty and stabilize the economy, otherwise Afghanistan would remain dependent on foreign aid.
Khan Jan Alakozai, a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, told Pajhwok that the opening of the air corridor between India and Afghanistan would positively impact economy of Afghanistan.
He said the air corridor with India was important because the bulk of Afghanistan’s dried fruits, saffron, figs, hemp and medicinal plants were exported to India. He said the trade volume between Afghanistan and India stood at 600 to 800 million dollars.
Alakozai said Afghanistan’s pine nuts enjoyed good market on the global level. Last year, 500 tons of pine nuts were exported to China and this year, up to 10,000 tons of pine nuts will be sent to foreign countries.
He also said the government should increase exports and try to open air corridors with Dubai and Russia.