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Covid-19 impacts; Afghanistan’s exports on hold

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(Last Updated On: June 3, 2020)

Afghanistan’s exports to other countries have been stalled due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus and no alternatives have been considered yet.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) blames the government for failing to remove hurdles in Afghanistan’s exports, saying that the private sector will lose millions of dollars if trade with neighboring countries does not resume.

Officials in ACCI say that trade routes with neighboring countries have been blocked since the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the government has failed to find alternatives.

On the other hand, experts attribute the lack of work capacity in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan to the decline in exports to other countries.

“Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan have failed to come up with a basic plan for exports and investment in the country,” experts say.

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the country, a number of countries, including Iran and Pakistan, have closed their borders with Afghanistan.

In addition to the cessation of Afghanistan’s exports, this act sparked prices to rise domestically.

Meanwhile, experts and traders believe that the government should look for alternative ways to keep the drift of export and import alive.

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Parliament approves amended Coronavirus budget

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2020)

The Lower House of the Afghan parliament approved on Wednesday the extra budget for the Coronavirus crisis in the country.

The lawmakers, however, had rejected the budget but the government resent the draft to the House after bringing some minor changes in it.

The Finance and Budget Commission of the parliament says the national budget was 428 billion AFN, but the government has added another 21 billion AFN. 

“In the first amend draft 428.380 billion AFN included all the budget. But the budget raised to 449 billion AFN of which 30 billion is allocated to contain the coronavirus, “Abdul Rauf Anami, a member of the commission said.

Meanwhile, joint parliamentary commissions rejected the government’s amended draft to increase operative funds and transfer funds from many development projects to the Coronavirus budget.

“In areas where additional money was offered, we rejected it, for example, a 1.7 billion AFN for operational units, transferring three hundred and fifty million AFN to the provinces,” said Mir Afghan Safi, head of the Finance and Budget Commission. “It was difficult to monitor, and all the commissions have accepted the amendment of the parliament and it is an agreement.”

Finally, the House of Representatives put the budget document to fight the coronavirus on a vote by adding the amendments of the commissions of the House.

Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “The government’s proposed amendments to fight the coronavirus and the accidental amendments of the commissions are to be put on vote… It is approved with a majority of for votes and five against votes.”

However, members of the House of Representatives emphasize that they will closely monitor how the budget would be utilized to fight the coronavirus, as any corruption in this regard could lead to people’s death.

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Afghan Senate accuses central bank officials of “violating law”

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2020)

Members of the Upper House of the Afghan parliament said that the Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmadi, contrary to principles, has fired his deputies and staff, calling him a “tyrant”.

In a video released on social media shows that Afghan Central Bank – Da Afghanistan Bank -security guards did not allow Wahid Nooshir, the organization’s first deputy, to enter his office.

Nosher, in a Facebook post, said that as per the oral direction of President Ghani he intended to resign from his post on Monday, but he was not allowed to enter the Bank.

Nosher accused Ajmal Ahmadi of breaking administrative principles.

Qasim Rahimi, dismissed deputy head of the Central Bank of Afghanistan also considers the attitude of the head of this institution towards the bank’s employees against the law and principles.

According to the article Seven of the Da Afghanistan Bank Law, the Supreme Council of Da Afghanistan Bank shall be composed of seven members, as follows: Governor as Chairman of the Supreme Council First Deputy Governor as Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council Five other members.

The article says that “[All] members of the Supreme Council shall be appointed by the President of Afghanistan with the consent of the parliament of Afghanistan.”

Article 12 of the law says that the Governor, the First Deputy Governor, and any other member of the Supreme Council, of Da Afghanistan Bank, shall be suspended or removed from office by the President of Afghanistan.

“No member of the Supreme Council shall be suspended or removed from office before a hearing has been held by the President of Afghanistan where such member or his legal representative has presented his reasons,” read the law.

Meanwhile, lawyers say that if any employee of the organization is accused of corruption, only the judiciary has the right to review the case, and then the leadership must decide.

On the other hand, officials at the Integrity Watch of Afghanistan and economic experts are concerned about the current situation at the Central Bank of Afghanistan, saying that the continuation of such a situation will put the financial institution in crisis.

The head of the Central Bank of Afghanistan has not commented on the reason for the dismissal of his two deputies, but a statement from the organization said that the latest measures were taken in accordance with Article 20 and the third paragraph of the Central Bank of Afghanistan law.

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Senior Central Bank officials dismissal against law: lawyers

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2020)

The Afghan Lawyers’ Union says Ajmal Ahmadi has been appointed as the acting governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan for political reasons and now he has begun illegal dealings with the bank’s employees.

This comes as the High Council of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, headed by Ajmal Ahmadi, fired at least four senior central bank employees, including the first and second deputy heads, a few days ago, for alleged corruption. 

Qasim Rahimi, the dismissed deputy head, however, said that would sue in courts for illegal treatment of Ajmal Ahmadi.

Meanwhile, the Integrity Watch of Afghanistan also called on the president Ghani to address the issue at the Central Bank of Afghanistan.

Ajmal Ahmadi was the Acting Minister for the Ministry of commerce, who was recently nominated and appointed as the acting governor for the Central bank of Afghanistan by the president.

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