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Fire Causes $1.5 Million Losses to Business Owners in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: October 9, 2019)

Business owners lost more than $1.5 million after fire broke out in eleven stores in Taimor Shahee area of Kabul late on Tuesday.

Immediately the main cause of the fire was unknown.

However, the owners of the stores expressed their concerns regarding the repetition of such incidents.

“The government is not cooperating with us. This is not the first time. We all know that at least a market burns every month,” said Najibullah, a shopkeeper in the area.

“We lost around $2.5 thousand as a result of the fire,” said Hashmatullah, another shopkeeper.

Meanwhile, Khan Jaan Alokozai, a member of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) called on the government to support the owners of these stores.

“Unfortunately, once they lost their capital, there is no guarantee to support them in any form such as loans,” Mr. Alokozai said.

On the other hand, Shabeer Bashiri, an economic expert blamed the private sector for their failure to consider business standards while keeping their materials in storage.

Last year, several huge markets caught in fire in the center of the city where more than a thousand shops were destroyed.

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Afghanistan to transit trade via Pakistan’s Gwadar port

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

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.

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Central bank to run campaign promote Afghani in western provinces

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2020)

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.  

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Locusts attack along India-Pakistan border threatening food security

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(Last Updated On: May 25, 2020)

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.

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