Business – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:18:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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.

NUG Fails to Properly Collect Old Kabul Bank’s Debts: IWA Sun, 26 Aug 2018 15:24:27 +0000

National Unity Government (NUG) has failed to properly collect the debts of old Kabul Bank, a watchdog said Sunday.

It has been eight years since the Afghan government begun collecting the debate of the old Kabul Bank which was collapsed in 2010.

During the former President Hamid Karzai’s tenure, $370 million debts of the bank were collected by the government from the overall debts of $987 million. However, since the opening of the Kabul Bank’s case, the National Unity Government has only managed to collect $78 million in debts.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistan says NUG was being expected to collect the debts – from the movable and immovable properties of the debtors, but due to political deals and the weakness of the judiciary institutions in the case – it has failed to collect the money.

 “The government has politically dealt with the case and the government institutions do not have the capacity to collect the money back,” said Naser Temori, a researcher at the IWA. 

The head of old Kabul Bank Sher Khan Farnood who has reportedly died of heart disease recently in Bagram prison had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He had paid $334 million before his imprisonment and Chief Executive of the bank Khalilullah Ferozi has paid $137 million before being jailed to 10 years.

Farnood and Ferozi have been among the debtors of the bank. Apart from them, 12 other individuals involved in the case are also currently serving prison sentences and 16 more are under investigation of the judiciary institutions.

Rejecting the issue of being involved in political deals on the old Kabul Bank’s case, Spokesman of the Attorney General’s Office, Jamshid Rasoosi said: “We are an independent institution and we are doing our tasks based on the law. Our performances have been in line with the law and its provisions.”  

Corruption in Customs Raises Prices of Imported Goods: ACCI Sun, 19 Aug 2018 15:37:19 +0000

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) says corruption in customs has raised the prices of imported goods and that it has also reduced the level of trade in the country.

The Deputy Head of ACCI Khan Jan Alokozay said that trade is in “bad” situation in the country and that the traders even have to pay tariffs at different customs offices.

He said the increase in tariffs has declined the level of trade in the country and that the traders are in a difficult situation.

“Since last three years, this issue (corruption) has been raised at customs. If it continues like this, not only the price of goods will be increased but also the issue would become a habit,” said Sayed Massoud, an economic expert.

Despite referring some of the corrupt individuals to judiciary institutions, the Finance Ministry neither confirmed nor rejected the existence of corruption at customs offices.

“The Ministry of Finance is committed to referring the corrupt individuals to Attorney General Office,” said Abdullah Dawran, Spokesman of the ministry. “You were witnessed that earlier we have referred corrupters to Attorney General Office and now they are in captivity.”

This comes as months earlier, President Ghani had warned that he will prosecute those who interfere in affairs of customs offices.

MoMP Seeks Attracting Investment in Mining Sector Tue, 14 Aug 2018 13:32:05 +0000

Ministry of Mine and Petroleum (MoMP) says seeking to attract investment in the mining sector in a bid to increase government revenues.

“We are attempting to get the approval of economic high council on all projects of the mining sector in order to ease the problems and boost the contracts’ process in the sector,” said the ministry’s spokesman Abdul Qadir Mutfi.

According to the official, contract for extracting Badakhshan Gold Mine and Balkhab Copper Mine in Sar-e-Pul province have already got approved by the economic high council.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), meanwhile, said that increasing contacts in the mining sector is effective and that the government should support the private investments in the sector.

“We support this so that investments in mining sector get raised, but the government should have issues in this regard that need to be solved,” said Khan Jan Alokozay, Deputy Head of ACCI.

Since the formation of the National Unity Government contracts in the mining sector had been halted. But reports suggest that the contracting process has resumed now. 

Contracts Signed to Reconstruct Salang Highway, Build Bridge in Takhar Tue, 14 Aug 2018 12:55:39 +0000

Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) has signed contracts for building a bridge in Takhar province and reconstructing Salang Highway – linking Kabul with northern part of the country.

Salang Highway will be reconstructed – beginning from Chokak village until Freshtagan Bridge in Baghlan province with an estimated length of 11 kilometers and width of 11 meters.

The Minister of Public Works Yama Yari said that the project will cost about 122 million AFN and will be completed in six months.

The highway – passing through treacherous mountains in Parwan and Baghlan provinces – connects nine provinces with the capital Kabul.

In the winter season, traveling the highway is dangerous for passengers due to heavy snow and cold weather.

“Little time left for the winter season and we are hopeful the highway get reconstructed so that the issues of people could be solved in the winter,” said MP Mohammad Azim Mohseni.

The head of the contracted firm, Mujahid Mujahid, meanwhile, said that they are committed to repairing the highway on its scheduled time and with high quality.

In addition, the Ministry of Public Works said that it will build Hazrat Sultan Bridge in Ishkamesh district of northern Takhar province, adding that the contract of the project has been signed with a private company and it will cost more than eight million AFN.

According to MoPW, the project will be completed in six months and more than 50 villages could get benefit from the project.

MoE Confirms Indian Delegation Will Visit Afghanistan Soon Mon, 13 Aug 2018 14:09:18 +0000 The Ministry of Economy (MoE) says a delegation from India is expected to visit Afghanistan in the near future to talk about economic projects with Afghanistan officials.

According to MoE officials, the projects will be implemented in the fields of agriculture, energy, manufacturing and construction of roads.

The value of projects is estimated up to half of a billion dollars.

“Our main focus in talks with Indian delegation is on implementation infrastructure projects. These projects will be effective for the economy of the country,” Suhrab Bahman, spokesman of MoE said.

In the meantime, officials in the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) considers the role of India essential in the economy of the country and emphasizes that the Afghan government should expand economic ties with India.

“India has always played an important role in economic and infrastructure projects of the country. We demand the government to give more roles for India in the projects,” Jalaluddin Saeed, a member of ACCI added.

Afghan officials stressed that India has assisted and cooperated with Afghanistan in many fields during the past years and these economic cooperation will be continued between the two countries.

29 Development Projects to Be Implemented in 11 Provinces: MRRD Sun, 12 Aug 2018 13:15:10 +0000

The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) to implement 29 development projects in 11 provinces.

The projects will include building roads, canals, and protective walls. It will cost about $300 million.

MRRD said that the projects will provide job opportunities to many people and will be completed within six to 12 months.

The Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Mujib Rahman Karimi called on the people to support the projects to be implemented in the country. He also urged the contractors to implement the projects with high quality.

Minister Karimi also said that the projects which have been implemented in last 17 years, had poor quality.

“We are committed to implementing these projects with high quality,” he said.

This comes as, in May, the MRRD has signed the contract of 22 projects with provincial development councils of 12 provinces as part of the territorial cohesion framework. The projects were expected to be implemented with financial support of India.

Afghanistan Wants Kabul-Tehran Trade Deals Exempted From U.S. Sanctions Tue, 07 Aug 2018 14:08:35 +0000

Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has pleaded the U.S. to exempt Kabul-Tehran trade deals from sanctions on Iran as the country heavily relies on the Iranian port of Chabahar to improve its economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned today that any country doing business with Iran will not trade with the US as the first set of US sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect.

Expressing deep concerns, the MoFA stated that U.S. sanctions on Tehran threatens to derail the lives of Afghan refugees in Iran, Kabul-Tehran trade deals and India, Iran, Afghanistan projects in Chabahar port.

“The Afghan government demand has always been the exemption in Iran’s sanctions. The Kabul-Tehran economic relation that helps development of infrastructures and Afghanistan economic development must be exempted,” Faramarz Tamana, head of MoFA Strategic Studies Center said.

Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and the country has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.

According to statistics, Afghanistan is the fourth biggest country for the exports of Iran.

The statistics of Economic Cooperation Organizations of Chamber of Commerce also shows that the value of Iran exports to Afghanistan reaches to more than 2 billion dollars in a year.

“We require bank facilities. Currently, we cannot fund bank transfers to Iran. Because the money blocks in international SWIFT center,” Azrakhsh Hafezi, head of ECOCC added.

The Indian-backed Chabahar port complex in Iran is being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for Afghanistan that could potentially open the way for millions of dollars in trade and cut its dependence on Pakistan.

Afghan businessmen were hopeful that the port at Chabahar would replace Karachi.

In the meantime, economic analysts call on government to work on bilateral agreements to remove Afghanistan reliance on any country.

‘Lack of Infrastructures, Financial Resources Major Challenges for Women Traders’ Tue, 31 Jul 2018 14:07:28 +0000 Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) has said the lack of infrastructures and financial resources are the main challenges for the improvement of Afghan women traders.

AWCCI in the second economic conference for Afghan women traders called on the government to create industrial parks for the growth of women’s trades.

“Lack of infrastructures include industrial parks and electricity that are the biggest challenges for women,” Manizha Wafeq, chairman of AWCCI said.

In the meantime, the government considers capacity building for Afghan women is at the top priority of its agendas.

“Our aim is to increase women’s empowerment, capacities and removing obstacles,” Samina Ansari, head of women center in American University of Afghanistan.

The acting finance minister, Hamayoun Qayoumi also said, “We are trying to make the role of women more and greater in the economy of the country.”

Currently, 850 companies with more than 67 million dollars investment have been established which provided employment fields for 40 thousand people.

World Bank Pledges $350m to Ministry of Finance Mon, 30 Jul 2018 13:40:14 +0000 The World Bank has signed a new package of grant agreements with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in support of reforms valued at $350 million.

The World Bank in a statement said the reforms are designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness in government operations for better revenue mobilization and service delivery.

The new financing package supports reforms in the business environment, the energy sector, and land administration to promote economic growth and employment and reduce poverty for all Afghans.

“This new World Bank support is fully aligned with the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, which will strengthen the policy framework to support state effectiveness, private sector investment, growth, poverty reduction, and improve public financial management,” Humayon Qayoumi, acting Finance Minister said.

Qayoumi also thanked the World Bank and donors of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and wished to maintain their contribution in areas that are vital for Afghanistan’s economic growth.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Hartwig Schafer, a newly appointed World Bank Vice President for South Asia, who is currently visiting Afghanistan to discuss reforms and development progress in the country with the Afghan government and its international partners.

Speaking about the Public-Private Partnerships and Public Investment Advisory Project, Hartwig Schafer said: “This is a step towards maximizing the financing available for Afghanistan’s development. By mobilizing private capital for large investments, this project can boost progress towards some of Afghanistan’s key development priorities. It is a way to create partnerships that can benefit not only the Government and private sector businesses, but most importantly the people of Afghanistan.”

Survey of First 3,000km Rail Line Completed in Afghanistan: AfRA Sat, 28 Jul 2018 06:33:39 +0000 Afghanistan Railway Authority (AfRA) says survey on the first 3,000km railway line has been completed in Afghanistan and that efforts are underway to provide further financial facilities for starting the project.

Railway projects considered to be extremely important for enhancing Afghanistan’s exports and the overall economic growth as according to AfRA it will allow Afghan products to get access to global markets.

“It [the project] consists of four corridors which would roundly cover Afghanistan,” said Mirwais Ghafoori, an official of AfRA. “[The corridors] would connect Afghanistan to its neighbors and thereafter, to global markets.”

The railway project is the most important and speedy transport alternative. It increases Afghan exports and connects Afghanistan with neighboring countries, according to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).

“Lot of works has been done so far but still it is not enough, further efforts should be made in this regard. Afghanistan Railway Authority has been successful despite being a new organization,” said Khan Jan Alokozay, deputy head of ACCI.“Now we have more facilities at Hairatan port in Mazar-e-Sharif and Aqina port [in Faryab].”

This comes as Afghanistan’s transportation and transit had heavily relied on a single country in the past. But now officials say it has many alternatives to neighboring countries and international markets.

EU Approves € 98 Million to Support Reforms in Afghanistan Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:57:25 +0000 The European Union (EU) informed government about its decision to disburse € 98 million to support reforms in Afghanistan.

 The EU in a statement said the money assisted to Afghanistan in carrying out reforms to finalize and operationalize its development policies (ANPDF and NPPs), maintain macroeconomic stability and mobilize domestic revenue, advance sound public financial management and strengthen state budget transparency.

It is part of a State Building Contract (SBC) signed with the Government of Afghanistan during the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan on 4 October 2016 and which already provided € 100 million in 2017.

Mohammad Qayoumi, acting Minister of Finance said, “This contribution to the national budget demonstrates the significant progress in reforms, including our new transparent budget, ongoing work in reducing corruption, strong growth in revenue generation, and improved service delivery through the NPPs.”

“Through budget support programs, such as the State Building Contract, the Government of Afghanistan is able to respond more effectively to the country’s priorities and ensure equitable development. I thank the European Union and its member states for its support and commitment to the people of Afghanistan,” Qayoumi added.

 Meanwhile, Pierre Mayaudon, EU Head of Delegation, noted: “This direct budget support disbursement is once again a very tangible demonstration of the EU and its citizens’ strong commitment to Afghanistan and its people. Following an overall positive review of progress on key reform criteria, the EU’s State Building Contract makes a direct contribution to the National Budget and provides the Government of Afghanistan with substantial financial resources and flexibility to allocate these where they are most needed for the  implementation of Government of Afghanistan-led and owned priorities.”

“The purpose is to improve the policy environment and support effective public institutions that deliver more and better for all Afghans, boost economic growth and reduce poverty, at a time when Afghanistan continues to face major security, economic and political challenges. We are very much looking forward to the continuation of our excellent collaboration with the Government of Afghanistan,” Mayaudon added.

In view of the success of the State Building Contract, the EU and the Afghan Government are preparing for the continuation of this Budget Support operation for the period 2018-2021.