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Private sector welcomes peace move which could bring enormous investment opportunities 

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2020)

Peace in Afghanistan would provide enormous opportunities for local and international businesses to invest in the country, in turn boosting the economy and aiding in its overall development. 

Afghan business owners and leaders in the private sector have said the war has created major obstacles for investors in the country over the past 19 years. 

Following President Ashraf Ghani’s decree, issued on Monday afternoon, to release the remaining 400 prisoners so as to pave the way for peace talks, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) urged all warring parties to seize the opportunity to bring about peace so as to improve the country’s dismal economic climate.

“We welcome the Loya Jirga’s decision to release Taliban prisoners, which could have a positive impact on the country’s economic growth,” said Khanjan Alokozai, an ACCI member said. 

Officials at the Afghanistan Chamber of Mines and Industries seconded this and said peace in Afghanistan would not only increase investment opportunities but also create much-needed jobs.  

“With the release of the prisoners, our hope is that dialogue between Afghans will begin, as this will increase investment in the country,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy director of the Chamber of Mines and Industries.

Ghani’s decree comes a day after the consultative Loya Jirga voted in favor of releasing the hardcore Taliban insurgents, as per the Doha agreement between the US and Taliban in February – which was one condition that needed to be fulfilled before intra-Afghan peace talks could start.

Meanwhile, economic experts are also optimistic about the opportunity for peace and for what is hoped will be the resultant economic growth in the country.

Hakimullah Siddiqui, an economist, said: “Both sides of the war must seize the opportunity to stabilize and grow the country economically, in order to increase economic opportunities.”

Other economists said peace would open up vast opportunities for investments in all sectors, including mining, agriculture, services, energy, and manufacturing. 

Talks are expected to officially begin on Sunday, in Doha, Qatar, between government and the Taliban.

The Afghan government’s negotiating team is expected to leave Kabul on Wednesday.

Business

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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