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Central bank to auction off $10 million in bid to stabilize AFN

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(Last Updated On: November 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Central Bank (Da Afghanistan Bank) announced Monday that it would auction off around $10 million this week, in a bid to help bring some stability to the Afghan currency.

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) called on commercial banks, money exchangers, and companies that provide money services to attend the auction on Tuesday.

The development comes a day after the Afghani lost significant value against the US dollar, dropping to its weakest since 2003 when new Afghani banknotes were printed.

On Monday, the AFN had strengthened slightly as one US dollar cost 92.95 AFN compared to 95 AFN on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, one US dollar cost 95 AFN yesterday. But today it reached 92 AFN again. This is an issue on the markets. The shortage of US dollars in Afghan markets is the main reason for the sharp drop in value,” said Abdul Rahman Zirak, a spokesman for Afghan’s biggest currency market Sarai Shahzada.

Zirak added that US dollars are being smuggled to neighboring countries which has also led to a shortage of dollars in Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, nowadays millions of dollars are being smuggled to Pakistan and Iran so that they could sell at a higher price for greater profit. For instance, people sell dollars at a higher price and buy Pakistani rupees at a lower price and then transfer them to Afghanistan,” Zirak noted.

Afghanistan has for years been heavily reliant on the US dollar which is widely used in the country.

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Central Bank says ATM to get operational in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2022)

Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank of Afghanistan), said Thursday, said that Automated Teller Machine (ATM) services by commercial banks will be resumed in the country.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Da Afghanistan Bank stated that the decision was made after a series of discussions with commercial banks and the union of banks of the country.

The ATM services of banks were stalled after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) regained power on August 15 last year.

According to the statement, the ATMs will be available at specific locations for the customers.

“Da Afghanistan Bank is striving to return banking sector to normal and reactivating the ATMs is a good news [for people] and [Da Afghanistan Bank] is trying to bring further facilities to the people.” Reads the statement.

Da Afghanistan Bank, so far, has not disclosed the amount of money people can withdraw from the ATMs.

Currently, people can withdraw up to $400 from dollar-denominated accounts or 30,000 Afghanis a week from the previous limit of $200 or 20,000 Afghanis.

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Afghan carpetmakers raise concerns over shortage of wool due to smuggling

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2022)

Afghanistan’s National Union of Carpet Manufacturers raised concerns on Thursday around the smuggling of woolen fleece from sheep into other countries, which has led to a shortage of the raw material for Afghan carpet weavers.

Afghan carpet producers said that farmers in Ghazni, Zabul, Farah, Kandahar, and Helmand provinces are harvesting the fleece and then smuggling it into other countries.

According to the union, they have as a result been forced to import Iraqi and Saudi yarn to use in the local carpet industry.

“Our (woollen) fleece is being smuggled to Pakistan and India, but we have to import yarn from Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” said Mohammad Naeemzada, on carpetmaker.

“The price of one square meter of carpet has increased by 600 AFN. Because we import yarn from other countries, due to smuggling of our own fleece,” said Noor Ahmad Noori, the head of the Afghan carpet producers union.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) meanwhile said that they have also asked all customs offices at border points to clamp down on people exporting the raw material.

The spokesman for the MoF Ahmad Wali Haqmal said: “The Islamic Emirate needs time, the process [to prevent smuggling] needs time. We will solve the problems, and will prevent smuggling.”

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Uzbekistan restores electricity to Afghanistan after fixing power plant problem

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2022)

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said the electricity supply from Uzbekistan has returned to normal after output fell by 60% due to technical problems.

The power supply company said in a statement early Thursday that the problem at a power station in Uzbekistan has now been resolved and that electricity supply to Afghanistan has been restored.

Two days ago, Uzbekistan was forced to cut supply by 60%, which left large parts of Afghanistan without power.

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