Business – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Sun, 31 May 2020 19:59:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Da Afghanistan Bank sees increase in gross reserves Sun, 31 May 2020 18:11:02 +0000 The gross domestic product (GDP) of the central bank of Afghanistan, Da Afghanistan Bank, has reached more than $9 billion for the first time.

Officials at the bank said that although the global aid to Afghanistan has declined, they have succeeded to increase the bank’s reserves.

Economists also underline that the central bank’s efforts will lure global funds.

The bank’s authority has stated that they have, for the first time, been able to increase the GDP to over $9 billion.

According to them, last year about AFN22 billion was deposited in the government reserves through investments in foreign financial institutions.

Although the Coronavirus pandemic has devalued Afghan currency against the dollar, the authority is pushing for effective programs to keep the value of the currency afloat, they said.

Welcoming the strengthening of the gross reserves of DAB, experts say that the central bank’s efforts would attract global funds for good.

Afghanistan to transit trade via Pakistan’s Gwadar port Sat, 30 May 2020 16:28:44 +0000 The Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) enables Afghanistan to transit trade through Pakistan’s Gwadar port under the OPTA agreement.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that Afghanistan is trying to improve its economic relations with all neighboring countries and the region, pointing at the Pakistani port of Gwadar as the closest and cheapest transit route for Afghanistan’s trade.

In the meantime, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s senior advisor of economy, Abdul Razzaq Daud, has said that trade with Afghanistan is set to begin through the Gwadar port, starting with 16,000 tons of fertilizer to be shipped to Afghanistan.

In addition, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment considers the Gwadar port as less expensive than any others; however, it criticizes that the neighboring countries are not honest enough in their economic relations with Afghanistan.

On the other hand, experts point out that if Pakistan complies with international economic and transit laws, Afghan traders will be able to import and export goods via Gwadar port at lower costs.

This comes as economic relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been often strained due to political tensions, and the country has severally closed its ports to Afghan traders.

Central bank to run campaign promote Afghani in western provinces Tue, 26 May 2020 12:33:43 +0000 The government has set to launch a campaign over the use of Afghani currency instead of Iranian Rials in domestic transactions in western parts of the country.

Sharifullah Shagewal, a spokesman for the central bank of Afghanistan, Da Afghanistan Bank said that the organization has set to boost the use of Afghani currency in local markets.

Shagewal added that the replacing Iranian Rials with Afghani currency could gain Afghani value against foreign currencies.

According to reports, many provinces sharing borders with Iran use Rials for transactions.

It comes as the organization launched a campaign in the past one year just to tell people not to use foreign currencies in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Helmand, and Kandahar province, where public used to use Pakistani rupees in daily transactions.

Now, the De Afghanistan Back added that so far, it succeeded to prevent billions of Pakistani rupees from money circulation in the country.

Meanwhile, the central bank of Afghanistan urges the public to join the campaign by using Afghani currency instead of foreign currencies in their daily businesses.  

Locusts attack along India-Pakistan border threatening food security Mon, 25 May 2020 17:47:09 +0000 There has been an increased risk along both sides of the India-Pakistan border, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said Friday.

FAO, in its Friday release, warned, “Despite control operations, recent heavy rains have created ideal conditions for the pest’s reproduction in several countries. Young juveniles will become voracious adults in June just as farmers begin to harvest, compounding an already bleak food security situation.”

Reports indicate that India has reached out to Pakistan to counter a locust invasion which threatens to destroy crops and undermine food security in the south and southwest Asia already threatened by the COVID19 pandemic.

According to Indian news outlets, swarms of desert locusts swept Jaipur on Monday as the insect onslaught spread wider to parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh; while Gujarat and Punjab have warned their farmers of locust attacks.

This is the second round of locust attack in India, the first one having occurred during December-February.

Locust attacks in 12 countries, including Pakistan, Iran, and ten nations in Africa, have damaged crops over millions of hectares.

The World Bank has set up a $500 million program to help countries in Africa and the Middle East combat the impact of locusts.

It is noteworthy that the Locusts can destroy standing crops and devastate livelihoods of people – The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering 1 square kilometer can contain up to 80 million locusts.

Pak-Afghan transit affairs to resume – MCIA Sat, 23 May 2020 13:02:05 +0000 The transit problems via Pakistan will soon be resolved, and exports will begin through Torkham and Spin Boldak, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan reported.

The MCIA says it has been able to reach an agreement with the Pakistani to open the Spin Boldak and Torkham crossings for six days a week to transit.

According to officials, Afghanistan will be able to resume exports through the two crossings following the Eid holidays, noting, “It’s profitable to export through these ports.”

On the other hand, the private sector wants the MCIA to work out other export pathways in addition to that of Pakistan, reasoning “Pakistan’s path is never sure.”

According to officials in the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock, here we are with the season to harvest fruit; the government must pave the ground for its export.

They also say, “Although it is closer and affordable, it is always uncertain to trade through Pakistan.”

In order for businesses to grow, the government must look for different ways, on national and international levels, experts emphasize.

Challenges triggered by politics have always threatened Afghanistan’s transit and trade relations with Pakistan.

ADB’s governors approve ADB’s financial statements Fri, 22 May 2020 13:40:55 +0000 The Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank approved ADB’s financial statements in its first-ever virtual Annual Meeting.

ADB on its official website wrote that its Board of Governors had approved ADB’s financial statements and the allocation of its 2019 net income in the Annual Meeting today.

The annual meeting took place through video conferencing (VTC) Friday amid the COVID19 pandemic.

In his remarks to the meeting, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said, “Our immediate priority is to provide vital support to developing member countries as they confront the COVID19 pandemic and return their economies to a path of sustainable growth,”

“Your approval today of the financial statements and allocation of net income ensure that we have the tools and financial stability to address the enormous challenges that now affect the lives and economies of millions of people across our region,” he added.

The Chair of the Board of Governors said, “Our choices and efforts today will determine whether we can overcome the current health care and economic crises.”

He added, “The ADB should turn this crisis into an opportunity while enhancing knowledge sharing on COVID-19 policy responses and expanding support for low-income countries and vulnerable groups.”

The Board of Governors adopted a resolution to allocate $1.069 billion of net income from ADB’s 2019 ordinary capital resources.

The allocable net income will be distributed as follows:

  • $615.7 million to support ADB’s capital adequacy to generate net income,
  • $259.5 million to the Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB’s low-income member countries,
  • $130 million to the Technical Assistance Special Fund, which includes support to respond to the COVID19 pandemic,
  • $30 million to the Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund,
  • $24 million to the Climate Change Fund, and
  • $10 million to the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund.

ADB is actively supporting its members as they address the effects of COVID-19 through its $20 billion response package announced on 13 April.

Government to implement 430 projects – Baghlan Sun, 17 May 2020 17:18:00 +0000 The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock said Sunday that the government has begun implementing around 430 projects in Baghlan province to manage agricultural products.

Officials said that the projects include dozens of refrigeration systems, vegetable stocks, raisins storages, and other accessories aimed to improve the agricultural earnings of Baghlan farmers.

The project will cost AFN202 million and will be funded by the Ministry of Agriculture as well as 10 percent of it will be contributed by people.

According to reports, these fruit refrigeration systems and vegetable stocks have a capacity of preserving 3,335 tons of agricultural products.

Meanwhile, farmers in Baghlan insisted on timely completion of the projects saying that most of their agricultural products will stagnate in the lack of refrigeration systems.

The projects could provide job opportunities for 4,200 of the Baghlan residents during the implementation of these projects.

220 kV power transmission line to Kunar; contract signed Sun, 10 May 2020 05:25:13 +0000 Afghanistan signed into a contract Saturday to enable a 220 kV power transmission line to Kunar.

Arg announced that a contract to transfer 220 kV of electricity from Nangarhar to Kunar province was signed Saturday between Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat and Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd (KPTL).

The 300 megawatts project will be completed at a cost of $29.9 million in two years.

Dawood Noorzai, head of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said the project would be completed on time.

Over 30,000 residential, industrial and commercial subscribers will benefit from the electricity, he added.

In addition, the line will lobby an electricity flow to Nuristan province as well.

This comes as the Taliban, for the first time, has called for better ties with India and has welcomed India’s assistance to Afghanistan, Indian media reports say.

UN appeals financial aid for vulnerable countries Fri, 08 May 2020 13:45:24 +0000 A UN report says that humanitarians are seeking nearly $7 billion to protect millions of lives in over 60 most affected countries amid the spread of COVID-19.

According to the report, the updated Global Humanitarian Response Plan provides help and protection that prioritize the most vulnerable in society, older people, people with disabilities, and women and girls, in particular.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock has warned of a significant rise in conflict, hunger, and poverty, as well as looming famine, unless action is taken now.

He has said, “If we do not support the poorest people – especially women and girls and other vulnerable groups – as they battle the pandemic and impacts of the global recession, we will all be dealing with the spillover effects for many years to come. That would prove even more painful, and much more expensive, for everyone.”

The report writes, “The updated plan builds on an earlier appeal made by the UN Secretary-General in late March which called for $2 billion.”

In a video message, urging donors to step up support to stop the pandemic from circling back around the globe, António Guterres says, “Humanitarian aid is not just a moral imperative; it is a practical necessity to combat the virus.”

He highlights, “If COVID-19 wreaks havoc in the poorest places, we are all at risk.”

World Bank approves $400 million grant for Afghanistan Fri, 08 May 2020 11:27:12 +0000 The $400 million grant by the World Bank is to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in Afghanistan.

The World Bank approved $400 million Friday to sustain reform momentum and mitigate crisis caused by COVID-19 in Afghanistan.

In a press release Friday, the World Bank announced that its board of executive directors approved a $400 million grant for Afghanistan.

The grant is aimed “to help Afghanistan sustain the pace of key economic and public finance reforms, and support the country to manage current risks and uncertainties compounded by the COVID-19 crisis”.

The release highlights, “The Incentive Program Development Policy Grant comprises $160 million from the International Development Association (IDA).”

“The World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $240 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors,” said in the press release.

Aryan News Analytical

As per estimates, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, millions of dollars in financial aid have flowed into the administration of Afghanistan.

Point to be noted for the time to reveal is know where and how these funds will actually be spent – whether they will be managed transparently in and for what is meant for.

Afghan customs agency increases tariffs on commercial goods without notice: ACCI Thu, 07 May 2020 17:12:20 +0000 The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) has claimed that new customs officials have increased tariffs on commercial goods.

The ACCI said that the officials have surged the tariffs on goods without sending a notice to the organization.

The Afghan businessmen have faced challenges following the appointment of a number of new customs chiefs, the ACCI added, urging the government to address the issues.

The ACCI has also expressed concerns about alleged extortion along the highways of the country.

Meanwhile, economists claimed that the government’s disregard for addressing the challenges of Afghan traders could make a ground for corruption. 

The experts warn that Afghanistan could face an investment stagnation if the challenges ahead of Afghan trade continue.

The Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan yet comment on the matter.

Afghanistan crops export stop due to pandemic Sun, 03 May 2020 16:30:36 +0000 The outbreak of the Coronavirus in the world has prevented Afghan agricultural products from being exported abroad.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that efforts underway to resolve the issue, introducing a plan under which the government would buy agricultural products for consumption in domestic institutions.

According to the plan, the government would buy up to 50% of agricultural products for consumption for the use of governmental institutions, the ministry said.

The ministry added that the plan could prevent crops from spoiling.

According to the officials, the government has allocated 13.7 million AFN to implement the plan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture further says that the plan could create around 6,500 permanent jobs and about 100,000 temporary jobs across the country.

Absence of sports to cost $12 billion to US – COVID19 economic impact Sun, 03 May 2020 11:54:37 +0000 As per the expert analysis, the sudden vanishing of sports due to the Coronavirus will cost at least $12 billion loss.

ESPN says, in an analytical report, that the sudden disappearance of sports will erase at least $12 billion in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States sports industry.

The $12 billion loss will derive from the shutdown of professional and college sports alone, the study estimates.

The scale of devastation is coming into view at all layers, be it stadium authorities, youth sports complexes, rec centers, and/or global TV networks.

According to the analysis, some organizations, especially at the lower levels of sports, say they’ll be lucky to survive.

The low-wage service workers who support pro and college sports and are now unemployed take most of the hit.

The tax revenue that helps support local services such as police and firefighters and contributes to the quality of everyday life, will also take the loss which will eventually affect the aforementioned services communities.

Patrick Rishe, who directs the sports business program at Washington University, said: “As an economist, you stand back, you look at the carnage that’s taking place – dumbfounded, awestruck, mind-numbing.”

He added, “All of those phrases, they’re all relevant because we just have never seen anything on this scale.”

IMF to disburse US$220 million to Afghanistan to fight COVID19 pandemic Thu, 30 Apr 2020 16:53:01 +0000 The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved US$220 million in aid to fight the Coronavirus in Afghanistan.

The International Monetary Fund has said the aid comes into effect upon the request of the Afghan government.

The Afghan Ministry of Finance stated that a large portion of the money will be used to fight Coronavirus, and another part will be used to keep the country’s economic turnover active.

“We had applied for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which has been approved,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.

He added that in addition to fighting the coronavirus, the money would be used to keep Afghanistan’s economic turnover active.

On the other hand, the private sector is asking the Afghan government to spend this money on strengthening the private sector, given the current state of investment in the country.

While experts say that global aid in the fight against the Coronavirus is beneficial, they are concerned about the management of the funds of this sort.

Coronavirus could affect 50% of Afghanistan’s revenue: MoF Tue, 28 Apr 2020 15:37:18 +0000 The Ministry of Finance said that if the government fails to contain the spread of Coronavirus within the next five months, Afghanistan’s national income could be reduced by 50%.

Officials at the ministry said the Coronavirus could lead the country’s economy in crisis.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department of the MoF underlined that there are concerns about a 50 percent drop in revenue in the country.

According to officials, the economic crisis would hit Afghanistan if COVID-19 spread continues in the country.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) has also expressed concerns about the declining activity of manufacturing plants in the country.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus in the country has led to an increase in the rate of unemployment and the closure of more factories.

It comes as the spread of Coronavirus in Afghanistan has stopped 50 percent of the country’s manufacturing plants.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, Investment and Mines said that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Afghanistan has reduced the domestic production and that a large number of factories have stopped operating.

Officials at the agency said except for disinfectants and sanitary products, the production of other materials have been suspended across the country.

Coronavirus: Half of all factories in Afghanistan suspend operations Sat, 25 Apr 2020 16:24:56 +0000 The spread of Coronavirus in Afghanistan has stopped 50 percent of the country’s manufacturing plants.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, Investment and Mines said that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Afghanistan has reduced the domestic production and that a large number of factories have stopped operating.

Officials at the agency said except for disinfectants and sanitary products, the production of other materials have been suspended across the country.

Meanwhile, the officials warn that the country would face an economic crisis if the government does not pay attention to these factories.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has expressed concern about the situation of the factories in the country, saying that it would soon set a plan according to which the factories could resume their activities, taking into account the health situation.

Meanwhile, experts say that as long as the government does not reduce the tax on factories and does not create loan appropriate packages for these companies, the activity of manufacturing factories in the country would face a crisis.

COVID19 spending transparency; information should be made public Mon, 20 Apr 2020 16:00:48 +0000 If the government spending and resources to fight the Coronavirus in different provinces are not made transparent, it could lead to an unmanageable disaster.

The Commission of Inquiry warns that if the government and the relevant administrations conceal COVID-19 spending reports, it indicates corruption.

In the meantime, journalists say that the information provided to the media by the government, especially the Committee for Combating the Outbreak of the Coronavirus, is not sufficient, which raises doubts amongst public.

A budget of AFN 6.7 billion have been allocated by the government to combat the Coronavirus outbreak in the capital and provinces of Afghanistan.

The Commission on the Right of Access to Information states that at this critical time, there must be accountability from the relevant offices, and in the provinces, information the assistance and expenditures provided by the government agencies must be made available to the public in written.

The commission wants the government, including governors and aid agencies, to be accountable to civil society and the media, if needed.

The Ministry of Public Health says that every institution is obliged to have a clear account of the expenditures on foreign aid and the government’s budget in the fight against COVID-19.

The Health Ministry’s Spokesperson indicates that corruption in the institutions responsible for fighting against the virus is a betrayal to the nation and the country.

Some reporters say that the government’s information, especially the Anti-Coronavirus Committee, is not sufficient to reassure the public, as only the head of the organization has made a multi-page report public on the committee’s spending in a matter of months.

The Coronavirus Committee, led by Waheed Omer, an adviser to the president, was established nearly a month ago. In total, it has spent money on media coverage of the Coronavirus awareness, and the Ministry of Health has spent US$15 million so far to fight the disease.

India’s first shipment of wheat arrives in Afghanistan Mon, 20 Apr 2020 14:11:11 +0000 The first shipment wheat granted by India arrived in Afghanistan today through Chabahar port.

The first shipment of wheat with a tonnage of 5,000 metric tons, out of a 75,000 metric tons of aided wheat from India, arrived in Nimroz, Afghanistan.

In the next 15 days, the second shipment of 10,000 metric tons of wheat will arrive  in Afghanistan.

The wheat is planned to be transferred to the silos of Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Baghlan and Balkh provinces.

Earlier, the government of India, following its efforts goodwill and aides in Afghanistan, had made a commitment of exporting 75,000 metric tons of wheat.

High prices; unsolved problem of Kabul residents Sun, 19 Apr 2020 18:19:32 +0000 The residents of Kabul, criticizing the government, say that the prices of groceries are rising; an egg is sold for AFN 12 – AFN15, against the price designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

This comes as the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said that the production of eggs and chickens are sufficient enough inside the country and that the farmers have promised to reduce the prices by this week.

Officials in the animal products union said that banning the imports of eggs and chickens to Afghanistan has caused the rise in prices, asking for the imports to resume.

However, MAIL says that the production of eggs and chicken inside the country is on a sufficient scale – there is no need to import.

Officials in MAIL insisted that the farm owners promised to reduce the price of eggs and chickens this week.

It is noteworthy that the ministry has designated the price of one egg as AFN8.5 in Kabul, and AFN5 in Herat.

Afghanistan’s surging unemployment triggered by Coronavirus outbreak Sat, 18 Apr 2020 15:18:08 +0000 Afghanistan’s National Department of Labor states that two million people have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak all over the country.
It says that if the government fails to prevent the increase of poverty and unemployment in the country, Afghanistan will face a humanitarian crisis.
“All over the country 15 million people are eligible for employment among which 8 million are unemployed and the rest has seasonal jobs,” the department says.
According to officials in the labor department, the Coronavirus outbreak has added 2 million more unemployed people to the graph.
The ministry of economy is also concerned about the increased poverty in the country.
“Strategies must be devised and submitted to the government to resolve the unemployment problem,” said Yonus Salak, the spokesperson of the ministry.
Some members of parliament believe that corruption in government administration has led to economic crisis and poverty.
Experts of economy say that if the government had worked on infrastructural projects, we would not have faced such a rise in the unemployment rate in the country.