KABUL (Pajhwok): There has been a four-fold increase in the number of businessmen in the country over the past three years, says the Afghanistan Women’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry (AWCC).
The AWCCI urged the government to provide the women with all facilities and support them in running businesses.
Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, Salma Yousafzai, director of AWCCI, said women’s involvement in business and investment had significantly risen in the last two years.
Referring to the state of women and girls, she said: “Currently they are not in a good situation in general, but their involvement in businesses has increased which is a good achievement.”
According to her, in 2020, about 2,421 businesswomen had official licences and membership of the chamber. But this number has now surged to 9,162.
She added 120,000 women were presently doing businesses without licences, but three years ago, this number was 52,000.
These women are mostly associated with handicrafts, agriculture, health, food, industry, mines and jewelry.
Yousafzai recalled besides national and international exhibitions, educational programs and capacity-building and vocational training programmes had been launched by the government and AWCCI throughout the country in the past two years.
“We have capacity building and training programmes in the banking sector, like small loan schemes. For the protection of their property, we have more than 25 programmes this year.”
According to Yousafzai, businesswomen like their male counterparts, are facing challenges in areas of obtaining business visas, high taxes and falling sales.
She said the cost of licence for small and medium businesses was high and a number of women interested in the sector could not invest in them due to lack of enough capital.
She said measures had been taken so address the problems of women in this area and efforts were underway to remove irregularities.
In order to solve these problems, including reducing taxes, increasing the export of women’s handicrafts and obtaining business visas,. they are in contact with the officials concerned at home and abroad.
About the collection of taxes by various institutions, she said under the existing law, traders and investors had to pay huge taxes to municipalities and the Ministry of Finance.
She called the role of women effective in improving the country’s economy and said their trade activities should be expanded and they should be supported.
She urged the Islamic Emirate to support businesswomen and take effective steps in area of issuing them with licences and reduce taxes.