Business – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Sat, 17 Nov 2018 15:18:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 US Exempts Chabahar Port from Sanctions in Support of Afghanistan Wed, 07 Nov 2018 13:14:21 +0000 The United States has exempted the Chabahar port along with an attached railway project and Iranian petroleum shipments to Afghanistan after re-imposing sanctions on Tehran.

“After extensive consideration, the United States has provided an exception under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act to allow Afghanistan to continue to import petroleum products from Iran and shipment of non-sanctionable goods through Chabahar Port for Afghanistan,” U.S. Ambassador in Kabul, John R. Bass, said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Ministry of Economy (MoEC) praised Washington move toward Afghanistan.

“Any step for enhancing regional cooperation can benefit Afghanistan’s and the region economy, so we welcome this initiative,” MoEC Spokesman, Suhrab Bahman, told Ariana News.

Chabahar port was inaugurated last year in the Indian Ocean. It enables India to trade with Central Asia and Africa and bypass rival Pakistan.

Afghanistan Ranked 167th in Ease of Doing Business Thu, 01 Nov 2018 06:23:19 +0000 With five reforms in the past year, Afghanistan has improved its position from 183rd to 167th position in the global ease of doing business rankings, the World Bank said in its latest annual report on Wednesday.

“Improving the business environment is essential for Afghanistan to stimulate domestic investment and create jobs. Given the exceptional challenges of conflict and violence in the country, the government’s resolve to improve the business climate for private enterprise is doubly commendable,” Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan quoted saying,” We look forward to continuing to record Afghanistan’s successes in year to come.”

Meanwhile, the Office of Senior Economic Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement that Afghanistan has also been selected as one of the top reformers in the world in the latest World Bank Doing Business Report.

In 2014, at the London Conference, Afghanistan committed to bringing extensive reforms in the field of good governance and service delivery, including reforms in the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators (DBI).

Since then, the government of Afghanistan has implemented reforms in doing business areas of starting a business, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency.

Ten indicators included in the World Bank Doing Business report are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Cabinet Approves in Principle 2019 Budget Fri, 26 Oct 2018 10:05:05 +0000

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by President Ashraf Ghani has approved in principle the national budget for the fiscal year 2019.

From a total of 399 billion Afghanis national budget proposal, half of them will be paid for by Afghanistan’s domestic revenue.

“Out of the total budget AFN124 billion outlay is allocated for development in various sectors including Information Technology, agriculture, transit routes, and power generation,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement.  

The national budget rose from  377 billion Afghans in previous year to 99 billion Afghanis in the coming fiscal year.

World Bank to Provide $403 million To Support Education, Rural Women in Afghanistan Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:54:05 +0000 The World Bank will provide $403 million to support education and rural women in Afghanistan.

The agreements were signed on Tuesday by Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, the Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor on Infrastructure and Technology to the President, and Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan in presence of Ministers of Education, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Higher Education and Deputy Women’s Affairs Minister.

“Investing in women empowerment and education programs sets the direct path towards gender equality, poverty reduction, economic growth and higher income,” the Acting Minister of Finance Humayoun Qayoumi said.

 “Women are remarkable part of the society; empowering them will enormously contribute to economic and social advancement. I am thankful to our ARTF partners and the Global Partnership for Education for their usual cooperation to our development efforts in Afghanistan,” he added.

The largest part of the package, $298 million will be allocated to improve education, $100 million to Women’s Economic Empowerment Rural Development Project and the remaining $5 million grant to the existing $50 million grant Higher Education Development Project.

“Investing in the next generation of Afghans, ensuring that boys and especially girls in all parts of the country have access to a quality education, and unlocking the latent potential of Afghanistan’s women through women’s economic empowerment programs, are probably the two most important initiatives we could support to secure a better future for Afghanistan,” said Shubham Chaudhuri “I am grateful that our ARTF partners and the Global Partnership for Education share this commitment and have contributed to the financing package we signed today.”

The Acting Minister of Education Mirwais, meanwhile, said that 1.7 million Afghan children is deprived of education and that the package could benefit these children in this regard.

“By signing this agreement, important deeds will be done for improving quality of education,” Balkhi said while calling the EQRA project vital.

“ The Ministry of Education has finalized al the practical plans and the program will be completed in due time and in accordance with the specified budget, which in any case will have positive impacts on the education system of the country,” he added.

Central Bank Takes New Measures against Dollar Smuggling Sun, 07 Oct 2018 13:43:07 +0000

Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank) says it has taken new measures against smuggling of foreign currencies particularly dollar to Iran and other neighboring countries.

Following the sharp rise in the value of US dollar against Afghan currency in the market and concerns of the citizens in this regard, the Central Bank says the security forces have arrested dozens of individuals on charges of smuggling USD.

DAB stresses that the smuggling of the dollar is the main reason behind the decline of Afghani against USD, adding that has taken measures at borders to prevent the outflow of the dollar to neighboring countries.

“A plan has been made with relevant institutions to prevent smuggling. In one of the ports several smugglers have been arrested,” said Head of Central Bank Khalil Sediq.

Some economic analysts believe banking policies should be reviewed in order to have control over the value of foreign currencies.

This comes as on Sunday one dollar was exchanged with 76 AFN at Sarai Shahzada market – the biggest money market in the country.

Contracts for Extraction of Badakhshan Gold Mines, Balkhab Copper Mine Signed Sat, 06 Oct 2018 12:59:04 +0000 The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) has signed the extraction contract of Badakhshan’s gold mines and Sar-e Pul’s Balkhab copper mine with two companies.

According to MoMP officials, the two companies will invest $ 87 million on these projects.

However, the Mining Watch Afghanistan (MWA) calls the signing of the contracts are due to political decisions and illegal international pressures.

The extraction work of Badakhshan gold mines is being jointly undertaken by Turkish and Afghan companies and an English company implements the Balkhab copper mine in Sare Pul.

A researcher of Afghanistan Integrity Watch declared that the government has violated the law with its decision.

In 2012, two companies won bidding for Badakhshan gold mines and Balkhab’s copper mine which the former minister of urban was the main stakeholder.

Due to some legal problems and interest contrasts, the contracts faced delay and then they were signed with the mentioned companies after Sayeed Sadat Mansour Naderi resigned from his position as the minister of urban and development.

Construction Work of Iron Melting Factory Kicks off in Kabul, Worth $20 Million Tue, 02 Oct 2018 14:39:42 +0000

Government officials and businessmen laid the foundation stone for the construction of an Iron melting factory in Kabul on Tuesday which worth $20 million.

Khan Mohammad Wardak, the owner of the manufacturing factory said that the factory will begin operation next year.  “We have great capacity and can make major economic activities in the future,” he said.

The Iron melting factory is expected to create job opportunities to at least 2,000 people. 

The first Deputy to CEO Khan Mohammad, meanwhile, said that a lot of challenges in front of investors in the country. But he said the government has taken major economic plans in this regard.

Following the matter, the Minister of Commerce and Industries Humayoun Rasa said that that rooms for investment are rising in the country.

“Our need is about 300 thousand tons of goods annually and we are hopeful of preventing 230-250 million equivalent products being imported in the country,” Rasa said.

“We must accept this truth that investment in Afghanistan needs courage and compassion,’ said Nargis Nehan, Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum. 

Afghanistan Welcomes U.S.’s Move to Review Iran Sanctions on Chabahar Port Sat, 29 Sep 2018 14:44:33 +0000

The U.S. will take into consideration the impact of American sanctions against Tehran on Chabahar port in Iran that provides a surface link between India and Afghanistan.

“When it comes to Chabahar, we are in the process of reviewing the imposition of sanctions,” Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, told IANS in an interview as cited by NDTV.

“So that process (of review) is underway and we take India’s concerns and interest in being able to expand exports to Afghanistan and to increase Afghanistan exports to India, very seriously.

“As we look at the reinforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the sanctions, we will, I think carefully, evaluate the impact that it could have, for instance on Afghanistan,” Wells added.

The Ministry of Transport said that investment drive is progressing fast on the port from Iran, Afghanistan, and India.

The implementation plan of Chabahar port agreement has been completed and we are ready to provide the necessary facilities to Afghan traders at the port,” Spokesman of the Transport and Aviation Ministry Hekmatullah Qawanj told Ariana News.

According to the estimation of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries, currently, more than $150 million have been invested in transport and forming factories in Chabahar port by 60 Afghan traders.

“Some of the investments which have been made on the port are very important for all of the three countries,” said Tawfiq Dawari, deputy head of ACCI. “When the port excluded [from Iran sanctions], Afghanistan will have trade relations with these countries and it will have an impact on the exports as well as paving ground for more investment,”

Chabahar port is providing Afghanistan with vital direct sea access, which the country hopes will improve its trade prospects. Crucially, exporting goods to countries such as India will allow Afghanistan to reduce its dependence on Pakistan.

Afghanistan Opens Air Cargo Corridors with European Union Thu, 27 Sep 2018 13:32:13 +0000 Afghanistan formally inaugurated air cargo corridors with Europe, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

The inauguration was marked at a ceremony at Kabul airport that was attended by ministers and foreign diplomats.

The first flight of Kabul-Europe air cargo will be initiated through Turkish airline carrying 20 tons of goods to export 8.5 tons goods to Italy and 12 tons of wool to Finland.

The deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Khan Jan Alkozay called the opening of Kabul-Europe air cargo a big achievement in Afghanistan trade sector.

“We commit to take major steps in opening air cargos and ground routes,” Ajmal Hamid Abdul Rahim Zai, financial deputy of the Ministry Commerce said.

European officials are said to believe that the opening of Kabul-Europe air cargo is a big opportunity for Afghan traders which the vast European market has opened to them.

“It is a good news. Alongside strengthening trade relations, Europe is keen to buy Afghan agricultural quality products. There is no doubt that this trend is dramatically expanding because it is a mutual interest,” EU ambassador to Kabul added.

Meanwhile, in a recent breakthrough Kabul-Kolkata air cargo to commence today. After the successive operations of Kabul-Delhi, Kabul-Mumbai and Kabul-Amritsar air corridor programme, Afghanistan is trying to expand its connectivity to the Indian cities for exporting fresh and dried fruits and other goods and most likely it will be connecting to Hyderabad and Chennai in the near future.

Rockets Hit Ghazni During President’s Visit Thu, 27 Sep 2018 13:13:26 +0000 Multiple rockets hit the Ghazni city on Thursday, while President Ashraf Ghani was there for a visit to review the situation of the province.

At least two rockets landed within 300 meters of the governor’s compound where President Ghani was meeting local officials, while a third struck further off, local officials said.

First Lady Rula Ghani, Eng. Mohammad Khan, Dr. Rasoul Talib and several other officials are accompanying the president during his visit to Ghazni.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault and No one was killed or wounded in the latest attack.

According to the statement released by the Presidential Palace, President Ghani would also participate in a major gathering during his visit to the province.

Afghan Economy’s Growth Rate Declined Compared to Last Fiscal Year Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:34:40 +0000

Afghanistan’s economic growth will reach 2.4 percent in the current Fiscal Year which shows a slight decline compared to last Fiscal Year, the Ministry of Economy said Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Economy, the economic growth was estimated at 1.3 percent in 2015 (FY), 2.4 percent in 2016 (FY) and 2.6 percent in 2017 (FY). However, in the current Fiscal Year, the figure will decrease up to 0.2 percent.

The Ministry of Economy reasoning insecurity, drought, and elections behind the decline rate of the economic growth.

“The growth rate is being less compared to last year. Insecurity, drought, and elections are the issues which challenged the stability of the economic growth,” said Sohrab Bahman, Spokesman for the Ministry of Economy. “The economic growth was expected up to 3.0 percent this year but, will have 2.4 percent.”

However, Azarakhsh Hafizi, president of ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industries said that wrong policies of the government in last years have harmed the economy. He stressed that insecurity, weakness in the government, and lack of having effective economic strategies have caused the economic growth to be declined.

Some economic analysts believe that if the government does not increase the domestic products and does not find markets for the export of the products in the region, the economy will not grow.

44 Development Projects Worth 307m Afs to be Launched in Country Sun, 16 Sep 2018 12:15:39 +0000 With a cost of 307 million Afs, 44 development projects will be inaugurated in 17 provinces of the country, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) said on Sunday.

The Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Mujibull Rahman Karimi said that the projects include cementing walls and reconstruction of canals which more than 107 thousand people will benefit in 17 provinces of the country.

“The projects will be completed in one year and some of them may be completed in three to four months,” Karimi said.

While the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation stresses on standard implementation of projects on their specified time, but the contractor companies criticize government’s slow work in the procurement process.

“For example, our payment delays to six to seven month by the Ministry of Interior. While the money should be paid in 26 days,” Abdul Qaiyoum, head of the contractor company asserted.

In the meantime, Afghan citizens urge the government to pay further attention in construction of canals to overcome the concerns of drought disaster.

Of the 44 projects, 17 of them were allocated to the construction of canals that can play basic role in irrigation of agricultural lands.

Gas, Oil Prices in Afghanistan Continue to Rise Sat, 15 Sep 2018 09:32:28 +0000 A number of Kabul residents complain about the rising prices of oil and gas, urging the government to monitor the situation and take measures to resolve the issue.

However, the oil and gas enterprise links the reason of rising prices to the increase of dollar value and global oil and gas prices.

“Recently the value of dollar has risen in the market and the oil and gas prices also reached a high level in the global markets,” deputy of oil and gas enterprise said.

Taxi drivers approached to the government through the radio and called for the government to undertake steps to lower the prices.

In the meantime, analysts are said to believe that the situation will continue the same unless the government makes the prices according to the law and prevent fuel mafias in the markets.

Currently, a liter of petroleum stands in the market at 57 Afs and one liter of diesel at 50 Afs.

Economic experts in Afghanistan suggested the government to work on strategic reserves if they are to overcome the issue of increasing oil prices, as this issue has existed since a long time in Afghanistan.

Afghan Forces Arrest 13 Individuals on Charges of Smuggling Dollars to Iran Fri, 14 Sep 2018 10:39:48 +0000

Afghan security forces have arrested 13 individuals in Herat province on charges of smuggling dollars to Iran, officials said.

Following the rapid decline of Afghan currency against USD in the market, officials in Herat said that police have arrested some culprits who were engaged in smuggling US dollars to Iran.

“Serious steps being taken against the smuggle of foreign currencies in Herat province, fortunately, in last two or three months, 13 individuals have been arrested on charges of smuggling dollars to neighboring countries,” said the provincial governor’s Spokesman Jilani Farhad.  

According to the estimation of the provincial Money Exchangers’ Union, up to four million USD are smuggled to Iran everyday in Herat province.

Head of the union said that dollars have also been transferred to Iran through legal channels by some individuals in Islam Qala – a border town in Herat province near the border with Iran.

This comes as the selling rate of USD is lingering between 75 to 77 AFN in the past few days in Sarai-Shahzada money exchange market – the largest financial market in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the head of Central Bank (Da Afghanistan Bank), Khalil Sediq said that some profiteers are hoarding of foreign currency as Iranian Rial and Pakistani rupees are also losing their values against the USD. He stressed some opportunists are storing USD in hope of selling it  at a higher rate. 

He also cited the high demand of the USD in Iran and Pakistan as reason behind the soaring USD value in Afghanistan.

Political, Jihadi Figures Bargained on Current Important Issues in Afghanistan Wed, 12 Sep 2018 16:18:41 +0000 A number of political and Jihadi figures in invitation of Hazrat Sibqatullah Mujadadi have gathered to find a joint solution about the country’s problems, particularly brining reforms for a transparent election, reduce of violence and betterment of governance.

The former President, Hamid Karzai who always was opposed of signing the security agreement with the U.S. is said to believe that the Americans have not fulfilled their commitments mentioned in the agreement.

Karzai called for a reconsideration about the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States.

In the meantime, the political and Jihadi figures called for serious reforms in the electoral system and stressed on implementation of reforms before holding the parliamentary and Presidential elections.

“There are serious question that make the transparency of electoral process questioning,” Zabiullah Mujadadi said.

The Jihadi leaders and political parties reached an agreement to jointly work on addressing their demands.

This comes as the Afghan government has not reacted against the criticisms of these figures so far, but previously it has always emphasized over serious efforts on betterment of the situations in the country.

Second Afghanistan-India International Trade, Invest Show Opens in Mumbai Wed, 12 Sep 2018 14:43:16 +0000 The second annual India- Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show, sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) kicked off today in Mumbai and will continue until 15th of September.

The Mumbai trade show will feature Afghanistan’s finest textiles, carpets, gems, and jewelry.

More than 600 representatives from Afghanistan, India and international businesses are attended the event.

Afghan producers and exporters of fresh dry fruits, nuts, spices and juices will be showcasing their high value products to develop partnerships with Indian importers, whole-sellers and supermarket chains.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah called the show effective in strengthening economy of Afghanistan and emphasized on changing Afghanistan to a transit point for energy among the Middle East and South Asian countries.

“We should consider Afghanistan’s geostrategic position as a bridge and regional link for regional trade, transit and transportation, and pay attention to strengthen it as a center for economic development and economic stimulus,” Abdullah said.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass called Afghanistan as a great place for trade.

“The U.S wants Afghanistan to become a successful country. It is clear that why we sacrifice ourselves there,” John Bass added.

In addition to product sales, the event provides an opportunity for businesses to develop partnerships, identify investment opportunities, and engage in business-to-business matchmaking in a range of sectors. 

“This show is a great chance for both Afghanistan and India,” Indian trade minister asserted.

The expo would help develop economic ties between Afghanistan and international markets, and further advance trade integration.

“We are trying for a responsible and sustainable economic growth in Afghanistan,” Hamayoun Qayoumi, acting Afghan finance minister said.

By 2020, bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan is expected to reach more than $2 billion. 

ACCI Optimistic Over Trade Ties Between Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Tue, 11 Sep 2018 11:15:15 +0000 Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) has expressed optimism over the increase of trade cooperation between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

According to ACCI, the value of exports and imports between the two countries has reached to $700 million dollars per year.

“The trade deals between the two countries will increase in upcoming years because Afghanistan is a great partner to us,” Muhammad Younis Mohmand, deputy of ACCI said.

In the meantime, the increase of trade deals between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan has raised optimisms of the Private Transport Union.

“We are working based on international standards and the increase of cooperation is in interest of us,” Dadullah Arghandiwal, a member of the union asserted.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry MCI emphasized on increase of trade deals with all the regional countries.

This comes as the export and import sectors of Afghanistan still have challenges with the regional countries.

Contracts of Five Water Supply Projects Signed, Worth AFN 154 Million Sat, 01 Sep 2018 13:15:04 +0000

As part of the government’s efforts to tackle the issue of drought in the country, the Ministry of Energy and Water has signed contracts of five water supply projects with private companies.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Water, the projects will be implemented in Herat, Kandahar, Khost, Nimruz and Nangarhar provinces. At least 4500 hectares of land is expected to be covered upon completion of the projects.  

In addition, more than 10,000 families will get benefit from the projects.

“The issues of climate change and drought have let us be more serious about managing our water resources,” said Acting Minister of Energy and Water Mohammad Gul Khulmi. “Managing water resources in Afghanistan is not harming our neighbors but it is in favor of every country in the region.”

The official added that due to the issue of climate change, last year has been not a good year for them and people in the agriculture sector.

“With good management, we can preserve our national interest and manage the life of 80 percent of our people which is dependent on agriculture [sector] in the country,” Khulmi said.

Japan Contributes $2.7 Million to Displaced People in Afghanistan Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:29:24 +0000 Japan contributes more than two million dollars to the displaced people in Afghanistan.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, around 360 thousand people were displaced due to war and natural disasters in Afghanistan during the current year.

Japan on Wednesday announced its contribution to prevent food disaster among the displaced people.

“Due to the natural disaster, Afghan people faced lack of food, particularly because of drought that created many problems for the people,” Japan ambassador said.

The money will be distributed through the UN World Food Program to displaced people and returnees who have returned to Afghanistan which the UN estimates them as 95,000 people.

“The aid will be very effective in this time, we are working on a program to transparently distribute these assistances to the needy people,” Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, the minister refugee added.

Japan also donated another $ 8 million in Afghanistan’s Children and Women’s health sector on Tuesday.

Afghanistan to Import 1000 MW Electricity from Uzbekistan Wed, 29 Aug 2018 12:42:20 +0000 Afghanistan will import 1000 megawatt electricity from Uzbekistan, the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said on Wednesday.

DABS stated that the working process of transferring a thousand MW electricity from Uzbekistan has started and will be completed by the year 2019.

“The work of electricity line will be started from Pul-e Khomri to Kabul after surveying in October,” Wahidullah Tawhidi, spokesman of DABS asserted.

DABS officials noted hat with the connection of the line the imported electricity will reach to 2000 MW which will go through Kabul to East, South and Southwest and to central provinces.

Currently, Afghanistan imports 300 MW electricity form Uzbekistan which the contract is not permanent, but the import of 1000 MW electricity will have a permanent contract.

According to information of DABS, Afghanistan currently needs 7000 MW electricity.