Business – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:31:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pakistan’s Airspace Opened For Afghan Flights Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:22:47 +0000 Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic including the Afghan flights after over four months of closure on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Transport says that though alternative ways were used for the flights from Afghanistan to India, Afghanistan lost 27 million dollars due to the closure of Pakistan’s airspace.

“We lost more than 27 million dollars. We are trying to have alternative ways in addition to Pakistan’s airspace,” said Mahdi Rohani, the Spokesperson of Transport Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) welcomes the opening of Pakistan’s airspace and says that it will increase the export of Afghan fruits through this way.

“We hope the decision of Pakistan to be permanent otherwise it would not be helpful to the private sector,” said Shafiqullah Attayi, the Deputy of the ACCI.

At the same time, the economic experts stress that the opening of Pakistan’s airspace to Afghanistan benefits both countries.

They believe that good relations between the two countries can result in the region’s economic growth.

Though Pakistan’s airspace has opened, the flight tickets’ price has not changed yet.

However, the officials of private companies say that the price of flight tickets will reduce and the number of passengers will increase after the 18th of July.

RECCA Ambassadorial Coordination Meeting Held in Kabul Wed, 10 Jul 2019 16:58:19 +0000 The Second RECCA Ambassadorial Coordination Meeting in 2019 and the Inauguration Ceremony of the RECCA Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI) was held on Wednesday at the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.

High-level officials from the Afghan government and heads of the diplomatic mission in Kabul participated at the event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Idrees Zaman emphasized that regional cooperation is needed for economic growth.

He also spoke about the link between peace, development, and connectivity and provided an overview of the regional cooperation efforts and progress made recently under RECCA.

Mr. Zaman highlighted the important role of RCCI in trade expansion and investment promotion in the wider RECCA region.

On his turn, the Yadgarkhoja Shadmanov, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Afghanistan said that his country is interested to expand its economic relation with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will open a huge exhibition in Afghanistan in the near future.

At the same event, Muqadasa Yourish, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce said that we want to have economic growth at the region and in order to reach to this goal we will pave the ground for the private sector and will increase our relations with the regional countries.

Atiqullah Nusrat, CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment called on the member states of RECCA to provide the opportunity for the private sector to implement the projects.

Finance Ministry Reports 14% Revenue Increase in 2019 Tue, 09 Jul 2019 13:44:29 +0000 Afghan government institutions have spent more than 40 percent of their development budget during the last six months of the fiscal year.

Shamroz Khan, Spokesman of the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday said at a press conference that there is a five percent increase compared to the previous year in the usage of the development budget.

He added that there are some governmental institutions such as the ministry of education that have spend less amount from their budget.

According to the Finance Ministry, there is a 14 percent increase in the national revenues compared to the previous year due to the anti-corruption efforts undertaken by the government.

However, critics doubt regarding the remarks made by the Finance Ministry’s spokesman.

“It is interesting. They are spending the budget but poverty is also increasing,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, a lawmaker from western Herat province.

Renovation of Darul Aman Palace Almost Complete Mon, 08 Jul 2019 14:07:50 +0000 The reconstruction of Darul Aman Palace has completed 90 percent and will be ready to host the celebration of Afghanistan’s Independence Day in another two months.

Darul Aman Palace was built during the era of King Amanullah Khan who ruled Afghanistan from 1919 to 1929.

Engineers say they have used materials produced in Afghanistan to rebuild this historical palace including marble from Herat province and wood from Kunar province.

Nearly 1,000 Afghans are employed by the project to rebuild the Darulaman and Tajbeg, the two historical palaces which were severely damaged during the civil war in Afghanistan.

“There was no foreigner advisor, engineers or labors in the project rather it was an Afghani movement,” said Abdul Rahman Atash, a government official who is overseeing the reconstruction of the project.

Officials said that the reconstruction of Darul Aman Palace cost nearly $10 million, two percent less than the amount which was predicted by foreign companies.

“The work of the [Darulaman] palace structure is completed hundred percent. I can say our project is completed 90 percent,” said Javid Huma, an Afghan engineer working at the palace.

Tajbeg Palace is a palace built in the 1920s  to house the Afghan royal family and is located near the Darul Aman Palace.

Abdul Manan Mukhlis, another Afghan engineer working at the Tajbeg Palace said that the reconstruction of the palace is completed 80 percent and they are trying to complete it before the celebration of Afghanistan’s Independence this year.

President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the reconstruction project of Darul Aman Palace in 2016 and said it was one of the main demands of Afghans to see the palace renovated.

The Afghan government is planning to use the palace as a museum upon completion.

By Hesamuddin Hesam

Huge Fire Breaks Out At Oil Depot In Mazar-e-Sharif City Wed, 03 Jul 2019 10:09:21 +0000 A huge fire broke out at a fuel storage tank in Mazar-e-Sharif City on Wednesday noon.

The fire broke out at around 12 pm today in Taimorian fuel storage tank.

Immediately there was no report of casualty.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

The firefighters were trying to bring the fire under control.

Officials have not made a comment about the report yet.

Ghani Inaugurates Several Projects During Kandahar Visit Wed, 03 Jul 2019 09:53:09 +0000 At the head of a high-ranking delegation, President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday traveled to the Kandahar province in the south.

Following his arrival to the province, President Ghani officially renamed Kandahar Airport after Ahmad Shah Baba.

He also inaugurated the newly-constructed Kandahar Airport Road and named it after later General Abdul Raziq who was assassinated by a Taliban infiltrator last year.

According to the presidential palace, the road has been built at a cost of 2.8 billion Afghanis which is funded by the government.

In addition, Ghani inaugurated Kandahar second phase of the solar power plant and put it into operation.

The plant has been built at a cost of $39 million and has the capacity to generate 30MW of power.

Besides inaugurating the public welfare projects, President Ghani is set to meet with elders, Ulama, youth, and women of Kandahar.

Businessmen Lose Millions of Afghanis In Kabul Bombing Tue, 02 Jul 2019 12:39:50 +0000 Afghan businessmen and shopkeepers have lost millions of Afghanis as a result of the Taliban’s complex attack in Kabul City yesterday.

The attack claimed by the Taliban left more than a hundred people killed and injured.

Khan Jan Alokozai, Deputy of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment on Tuesday said that the attack has destroyed a lot of nearby shops in the capital of the country.

He added that insecurities and such attacks discourage Afghan investors to invest in the country.

“Unfortunately, the investors are escaping from Afghanistan every day and the investment is decreasing day by day,” Alokozai said.

The shopkeepers and entrepreneurs who have lost everything in the attack say they are disappointed and will not invest anymore.

“$800,000 was invested in the [National Olympic Committee] but it is totally damaged,” said Qasim Ali Hamidi, the Admin, and Finance Assistant of the General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports.

“Each shopkeeper lost his materials. This is not a city to stay in,” said a shopkeeper.

Uzbekistan Vows to Discount $45M for Power Transmission Project in Afghanistan Mon, 01 Jul 2019 14:12:04 +0000 The Prime Minister of Uzbekistan has promised to provide a discount of $45 million for a power transmission project in Afghanistan, the Office of Chief Executive said in a statement.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday met with the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov in the northern province of Balkh where they inaugurated an exhibition of Uzbekistani products.

At the event, Abdullah thanked his Uzbek counterpart for their interest in trade and investment in Afghanistan.

He said the two countries had signed agreements and memorandum of understandings and now it is the time to cooperate and take practical steps in implementing them.

Abdullah further said that the trade volume between the two countries is good but added that the capacities are available for a high volume of trade.

He hoped that the two countries further enhance their economic cooperation.

“The government of Afghanistan is expecting to balance the level of import and export between the two countries. We are committed to creating more opportunities for Uzbek investors and we are expecting Uzbekistan to pave the ground for our investors as well,” Abdullah said.

On his turn, the Uzbek Prime Minister said that his country is interested to increase the economic relations between the two countries.

Aripov said that Uzbekistan is ready to facilitate and closely cooperate with Afghanistan in different sectors, including agriculture, trade, electricity, railway, and gas.

The Uzbek official added that the transmission of power line from Sarkhan area in Uzbekistan to Pul-e-Khomri city in Afghanistan which is almost 200 kilometers in length and it costs $110 million but his country is ready to provide a discount of $45 million for Afghanistan.

Asphalting of Kabul-Maidan Wardak Road Begins Sun, 30 Jun 2019 13:50:10 +0000 The Afghan minister of transportation on Sunday inaugurated the asphalting project of the second line of the Kabul-Maidan Wardak road.

The project costs more than 1.5 billion Afghanis and it will connect Kabul to central, southern, and southwestern parts of the country.

According to the officials, the length of the road is 24 kilometers and the project will be completed in three years.

Yama Yari, the minister of transportation said that the construction of Company bridge is a part of the project.

Meanwhile, drivers and residents of Company area criticize the government for its failure to take practical steps for the reconstruction of the Company bridge.

“The transportation minister vows to rebuild the bridge but they haven’t taken any action during the last two and a half months. I’m tired of my profession,” said Khan Mohammad, a driver.

The drivers union of southern provinces warns that they will go on strike if the government fails to resolve their problems as soon as possible.

Kabul – Sharjah Air Corridor Inaugurated Mon, 24 Jun 2019 09:55:47 +0000 The Officials inaugurated Kabul – Sharjah air corridor on Monday, Afghan officials said.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the first flight carried two tons of fresh apricots to the Sharjah City of the United Arab Emirates.

The announcement was made today by Ajmal Ahmadi, the Afghan minister of industry and commerce and economic advisor to President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghanistan launched its National Air Corridor Program to grow its economy and create employment opportunities.

In 2017, the Afghan government launched the “Afghanistan-India Air Corridor” to facilitate trade between Kabul and New Delhi via air freight.

Following that the Afghan government expanded it to several other countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, European Union, Kazakhstan, China, and UAE.

2,000 Tons of Afghan Watermelon to be Exported to Azerbaijan Fri, 21 Jun 2019 14:55:42 +0000 The officials of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) reported that dozen tons of Afghan watermelon will be exported to Azerbaijan.

In the first stage, almost 2,000 tons of Afghan watermelon will be exported to Azerbaijan, they add.

This comes as due to the lack of market in the western provinces of the country the price for each Kilogram of watermelon reduced unprecedentedly to one Afghanis.

“Dozens of the Afghan watermelon will be exported to Azerbaijan to solve the farmers’ current problem.

 Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that the harvests of fresh fruits have increased this year through which the farmers can earn more money.

“Although the harvests have increased, the prices are good in the markets which can influence the farmer’s living condition,” said Akbar Rostami, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture.

At the same time, some of the lawmakers criticize the government for the absence of capacity regarding agriculture.

“The government should buy the farmers’ products with a sufficient price and keep them in the fridges until exporting them to the foreign countries. This way the farmers will not lose their profits,” said Habiba Danish, an Afghan MP.

Economic experts say that the government should do marketing for the country’s dry and fresh fruits in the region and in the world.

IWA Calls for Investigation of Ex-governor of Afghanistan’s Central Bank Mon, 17 Jun 2019 15:00:16 +0000 A Kabul-based non-governmental organization on Monday called on the judicial organs to investigate from the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank who will step down in a month.

According to Integrity Watch Afghanistan, Khalil Sediq, the governor of central bank is supposed to report his achievements or failures before departing to the United State where he will live with his family.

“All those individuals who have failed to perform their responsibilities must be investigated based on the law,” said Sayyed Ikram Afzali, the Head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

The report of Mr. Sediq’s resignation emerged late on Sunday. Apparently, President Ashraf Ghani has accepted his resignation.

This comes as, during Mr. Sediq’s tenure, the Afghani currency depreciated as much as 43% against U.S. dollar.

At the same time, Saleem Toofan, an economic expert, blamed Mr. Sediq for carelessness toward the depreciation of the Afghani currency, claiming that he was rude toward private banks in Afghanistan.

Officials in the central bank of Afghanistan denied making a comment in this regard.

Senate Summons Senior Officials over Smuggling of Dollars Sun, 09 Jun 2019 12:05:59 +0000 Afghan senators on Sunday summoned senior officials of the central bank, interior ministry, and customs department over smuggling of U.S. dollar from Afghanistan to foreign countries.

Mohammad Alam Izadyar, Deputy Speaker of the House claimed that widespread corruption exists in the customs department. He further said that millions of dollars have been taken out of the country that has affected the Afghani currency.

Mohammad Azim Qooyash, head of the Senate finance and budget committee expressed his concerns regarding money laundering and urged the government to prevent such efforts.

Speaking at the session, General Ali Mast Mohmand, a senior official in the Afghan ministry of interior said that police have seized more than one billion foreign currency last year while individuals wanted to smuggle it out of the country. Gen. Mohmand blamed open borders for the illegal smuggling of foreign currencies.

At the same event, Khalil Sediq, the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank said that based on the law individuals can carry up to $20,000 with themselves and there are people with multiple-visas who are daily commuting to our neighboring countries with this amount of dollars.

Abdullah Raqeebi, deputy minister of customs and revenue, said that Afghanistan is having a 900-kilometer border with Iran but the U.S. dollar is still smuggled to Iran despite the government efforts.

This comes as the price of the U.S. dollar has dramatically increased in Afghanistan during the last year.

Fruits, Grain, Wheat Harvests Increase in Kunduz Sat, 08 Jun 2019 12:26:35 +0000 The harvests of fruits, grain, and wheat have increased in northern Kunduz province, said the Agriculture Directorate of Kunduz.

Kunduz is one of the well-known provinces of the country which previously was known as the “the hive of Afghanistan’” and the center of grains.

However, insecurity in recent years had negatively affected agriculture in addition to other industries.

Despite the existence of insecurity and war, the agricultural products have increased 20 percent compared to the previous years.  

“The suitable weather and the on-time raining resulted in the increase of the agricultural products like fruits and grains in Kunduz,” said Wahid Batash, the Agriculture Director of Kunduz.

According to the gardeners in Kunduz, though the harvests are good this year, the lack of official’s attention to improve the gardeners’ conditions and the absence of a proper market for selling the harvests are the main problem of the gardeners.

They said that 7 kilograms of the fruits like peach, black cherry, and apricot are sold around four US dollars.

 “The apricot of Kunduz is the best apricot but the government is weak in terms of providing the opportunity for exporting the Kunduz fruits to other provinces,” said Ajmal, a gardener in Kunduz.

In addition, the officials said that the several pests were threatening the wheat and several harmful insects were threatening the fruits but as a result of the measurements taken by the Agriculture Directorate and partner organization, the threats were solved.

International Trade Center Holds Information Workshops For Afghan Merchants Wed, 29 May 2019 16:48:07 +0000 Officials in the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said on Wednesday that the exported goods of Afghan merchants to Europe lack good quality and safety.

According to ACCI, Afghan merchants are not familiar with the Europe standards including food safety and quality while exporting goods; and this has turned to a challenge for them. 

ACCI said that as a solution to the problem, the International Trade Center (ITC) has started holding information workshops for Afghan merchants.

ACCI said that the workshops are to familiarize the Afghan merchants with the standard exports to Europe.

Officials in the ITC said that if Afghan merchants want to do exports to European countries, they must follow their standards. 

“Different countries of the world have food safeties and European countries have their own standards. Afghan merchants can do more exports to Europe only if they consider those Europe standards,” said Patrick Deboweser.

Based on the information, Afghan merchants exported saffron, carpet, and melon all worth 20 million dollars last year.

We have an annual export of goods worth 20 million dollars and there is room for increasing it; we are working on to make it happen,” said Shafiqullah Ataei, the deputy of ACCI.

This comes as the officials at ACCI say that they want to increase the country’s exports’ value to one billion dollars in a year.

Afghanistan Cancels Operating License of Iran’s Arian Bank Mon, 20 May 2019 12:38:19 +0000 Afghanistan’s Central Bank canceled the license of the Arian Bank, an Iranian bank based in the capital Kabul with a branch in Herat province.

According to the officials, Arian Bank has failed to meet Afghan financial regulations and had no role in Afghanistan’s economic development.

“Arian Bank is registered with the name of an Afghan but an Iranian national owns the bank. The High Council of Afghanistan’s Central Bank canceled its license due to several reasons,” said Aimal Ashur, Spokesman of Central Bank of Afghanistan.

He added that the bank’s denial to provide any loans to Afghan entrepreneurs was the main reason behind the cancellation of its license. The bank is also accused of money laundering.

Around two months ago, Afghanistan canceled the operating license of Pakistan’s Habib Bank, citing non-compliance of the bank with the banking laws of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) calls on the government to cancel the operating license of all banks that have no role in the economic development of Afghanistan.

“This bank had no financial transaction with the people and businessmen. It had no role in the trade and economy of Afghanistan,” said Nezamuddin Tajzada, the ACCI Deputy.

Arian Bank was established in Afghanistan in 2004 and received a commercial banking license from the Central Bank.

Telecommunication Minister Warns to Block Facebook in Afghanistan Sat, 13 Apr 2019 14:46:45 +0000 The Afghan telecommunications and information technology minister warned that Facebook will be blocked in Afghanistan during the next six months if it doesn’t follow the country’s regulations.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Minister Shahzad Gul Aryobi said that Facebook is being misused in Afghanistan, saying that creating accounts should be based on documents.

He also emphasized that all fake accounts should be blocked.

“I warn them to respect all regulations of Afghanistan. Registration must be based on documents. Now everyone can create accounts without revealing his/her identity,” Minister Aryobi said.

In addition, Minister Aryobi set a one-month deadline for Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) to fulfill its commitments and solve the problems of telecom companies customers.

Recently, Afghan activists launched a campaign against telecom robbery, asking telecommunication companies in Afghanistan for accountability and quality services.

Politicians, Warlords, Gov’t Officials Owe 4.5 Billion AFNs in Unpaid Electricity Bills Mon, 08 Apr 2019 13:48:07 +0000 A number of politicians, warlords, members of the National Assembly, and government officials owe 4.5 billion Afghanis in unpaid electricity bills to the Afghanistan power utility company – Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), an official said on Monday.

According to the authorities, the warlords and powerful figures have beaten the staff of DABS in many occasions after they were asked to pay dues.

Wahidullah Tawhedi, DABS Spokesman told Ariana News that these people are not committed to the national interest and are calling themselves “powerful”. He said that members of parliament, political and Jahadi figures, government officials and local commanders are among the indebted customers who are not paying their electricity consumption charges.

The official further asked the judicial and law enforcement units to increase their cooperation with the power utility company.

At the same time, an official in the Afghanistan Industrial Association (AIA) says that denial of warlords to pay their electricity bills have caused DABS to face many challenges.

“This is the money of the nation. The government must act against those who denies to pay the electricity bill,” said Sakhi Ahmad Payman, the Head of AIA.

MoU Signed for Badakhshan Power Transmission, Construction of Shiwa Dam Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:31:16 +0000

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Tuesday for the implementation of a power transmission project to northern Badakhshan province and construction of Shiwa Dam, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

The MoU was signed between Mohammad Gul Khulmi, the acting minister of water and energy, Amanullah Ghalib head of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and Representative of Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development.

The statement said that the purpose of the signing of MoU is to invest $631 million of Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development on the two projects.

The statement added that the contract duration has been considered for 30 years to address the issues of electricity in Badakhshan province.

According to the statement, the project would be implemented in several phases with each phase to be completed over a period of seven years.

UAE to Buy All Afghan Saffron, Establish Air Corridor with Afghanistan Mon, 18 Mar 2019 14:34:27 +0000

President Ashraf Ghani who was on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, says Abu Dhabi is ready to buy all Afghan saffron and establish air corridor with Afghanistan.

Speaking to Afghan businessmen in Dubai, Ghani said that the UAE will import all saffron produced in Afghanistan this year.

“My job is to find markets for you, your job is to invest,” he told Afghan businesspersons, inviting them to invest in processing factories and trading among other fields.

 The president stressed that the Afghan government has eased bureaucracy for investment in Afghanistan and that the security institutions have started conducting operations to improve security for businesses and investors.

“Further, through land reforms the Afghan government has recovered several thousands of hectares of land in the past four and a half years, and to incentivize investment the government is willing to lease them to investors at a very cheap price,” Ghani said as quoted in a statement by the Presidential Palace.

The statement said that during the visit, multiple MoUs with were signed to bolstering bilateral ties and trade with UAE. The MoUs were signed in the fields of agriculture, culture, energy, mining, education, and sports.

According to the statement, the visit also focused on cooperating in the areas of trade, investment, and development, with both sides reaching an agreement on launching an air corridor between Afghanistan and UAE.