Economic Bakhtar News Agency is the official state news agency of the Afghan government, based in Kabul. The agency is a major source of news for all media in Afghanistan, gathering domestic and international news and providing information to outlets. Sat, 23 Feb 2019 16:42:31 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb President Ghani Chairs High Economic Council Meeting President Ghani Chairs High Economic Council Meeting

Saturday February 23, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the meeting of high economic council was held at Arg’s Chahar Chenar Palace, BNA reported. In the meeting, issues as SODEVCO’s request for processing and exporting chromite to outside, bidding process of Nangarhar Talc project, transferring of possession of Wasel Telecom to Alokozay Group Companies complex and getting fixed sum as non-metallic things’ issuance right were discussed. First, officials for ministry of mines and petroleum delivered information regarding SODEVCO’s request for processing and exporting chromite to outside, condition of current chromite contracts and their suggestions in connection with granting the contract to the respective company. After overall discussion in connection with the company’s request, members of the council asked for further information in this regard.
Meanwhile, the country’s President said that the amount of the company’s current investment, management system and its legal and economic aspects should be clarified so that decision would be made in this regard. Afterwards, officials of the ministry of mines and petroleum delivered their information in connection with bidding process on Nangarhar Talc project (Shirzad Block) and four top companies for bidding the project. Members of the meeting said that guarantees of investment of the bidding companies were not clear, asking for clarification of modality of numbering for the bidding companies President Ghani instructed national procurement authority to cooperate with ministry of mine and petroleum in connection with numbering and evaluation of the companies. Afterwards, transferring plan of Wasel Telecom’s license possession to Alokozay Group Companies complex was delivered by minister of telecommunication and information technology to the meeting. After overall discussion, members of the council said the issue needed further technical discussions, adding that the issue should be further discussed in a committee which had been previously formed for this purpose.

Economic Sat, 23 Feb 2019 08:49:01 +0000
NPC Approves Fourth Section of Khaf–Herat Railway–herat-railway.html–herat-railway.html NPC Approves Fourth Section of Khaf–Herat Railway

Friday February 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Design and construction of the 43 km first phase of the fourth section of the railway being built from Iran to Herat was approved by the National Procurement Commission (NPC) at its meeting on February 18.
According to BNA report, the 1 435 mm gauge line is being built in four sections. Work has been completed on the first two sections covering the 76 km from the Iranian railhead at Khaf to Sangan and the border with Afghanistan at Shamtiq. The 62 km third section from the border to Ghoryan is reported to be nearing completion. These sections of the route have been funded by Iran.
The fourth section of the project is to be funded from Afghanistan’s budget. It is to be built in two phases, with the latest approval covering the 43 km from Ghoryan to Rabat Paryan, which the Afghanistan Railway Authority said is to be built by a company from Kazakhstan. The final phase would extend this line 20 km to an industrial area near Herat airport.
AfRA said completion of the Khaf – Herat railway was of high economic importance, as it would provide Afghanistan with a rail route through Iran to the sea and the Turkish network.

Economic Fri, 22 Feb 2019 17:24:45 +0000
Afghanistan: Historic Lapis Convoy Back From First Trip Afghanistan: Historic Lapis Convoy Back From First Trip

Tuesday February 19, 2019

Kabul (BNA) A landmark trade convoy linking landlocked Afghanistan to Turkey along the historic Lapis Lazuli route returned on Monday, successfully bringing back medicine, solar panels, and oil.
Starting in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province, the resurrected route goes through Turkmenistan, passes the Caspian Sea, and goes through Azerbaijan and Georgia to reach the Turkish cities of Kars and Istanbul and finally ends in Europe.
Herat Governor Abdul Qayum Rahimi welcomed back the convoy of cargo trucks. He said technical and logistical glitches have been noted to deal with on future trips.
Named after Afghanistan’s precious gemstone, the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last year.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz signed the agreement on behalf of Ankara. Current projects to improve infrastructure and procedures across the five countries are estimated to exceed $2 billion, according to RECCA VII.
According to the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Afghanistan's annual import volume from Europe and Turkey through Iran is $900 million, but the country’s exports to European nations total $6 million a year.
Anadolu Agency

Economic Tue, 19 Feb 2019 11:25:44 +0000
Developments in Afghanistan Demand Urgent Steps to Shield Our Interests

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The emerging trends from the hurried efforts to resolve the Afghan tangle presage new security challenges to India. The US desire to withdraw its troops from there at the earliest have resulted in two separate peace processes with different stakeholders and different underlying objectives. The Taliban, however, are common negotiators. The new dimensions provide legitimacy to the Taliban and a government led by this group would not be in India’s interest. The US under Trump had been working to withdraw its troops which he had promised at the time of his election and now keeping in view the 2020 elections, he has accelerated his efforts to find a way out to withdraw the troops at the earliest. The US policy was flawed in Afghanistan. The US while attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan never took any action against Pakistan where the Taliban are enjoying sanctuaries. The US in fact rewarded Pakistan by providing assistance of more than $33 billion since 2002.
Now in desperation to leave, Trump released five hardened Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo, termed by late US Senator McCain as ‘the hardest of the hard core’ to meet the precondition of the Taliban for negotiations. The US changed its policy from Afghan-led and Afghan- owned peace process to Taliban-led and Taliban-owned peace process. This deal was made without consulting the elected Afghan government. In the process, it effectively delegitimized the Afghan government which was formed after national elections- an objective of the Taliban. Trump did not consult any other neighboring country as also the Indian Government which is deeply involved in economic development in that country risking the lives of its workers and security forces protecting them. By its acts, the US has placed the Taliban in the central position and the most important group for resolving the problem in that country. The Taliban from the cause of the problem have emerged as the solution of the problem.
In January, the U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held a series of direct talks with Taliban negotiators in the Qatari capital, Doha, culminating in the basic framework of a possible peace deal. The other peace negotiations were sponsored by Russia. Realizing that the US was in a hurry to withdraw, Russia took action to unite all sections of the Afghan society for arriving at political solution under the Moscow Format, which echoed the Indian stance. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed on the need for ‘an inclusive inter Afghan dialogue to advance the peace process for the national reconciliation and the early establishment for the peace in Afghanistan’. The High Peace Council of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Taliban representatives were present in this meeting. The US, Iran, China, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republic also sent their representatives.
India did not send any official delegation, but was represented at the meeting by TCA Raghavan, head of the foreign ministry-run Indian Council for World Affairs, and Amar Sinha, a former Indian envoy to Kabul. Both are experts on the region. India considered it necessary to keep itself informed about the developments. A second conference organised in Moscow by the Afghan Diaspora leaders based in that country the 5th-6th February 2019. This conference has been attended by representatives from Afghanistan’s neighbours, opposition politicians, and the same Taliban negotiators that met with the American delegation in Doha. After the talks, a joint declaration was issued that highlights nine key points they agreed on. Withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, supporting Doha peace talks, removing Taliban members’ names from the UN blacklist, the release of Taliban prisoners and official inauguration of Taliban’s political office in Qatar are among the agreements reached in Moscow talks.
Before the declaration was released, Hamid Karzai the former President said the main issues they focused on in Moscow were peace and stability in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country. Significantly, former national security advisor Mohammad Haneef Atmar told the reporters that they reached an agreement that says the intra-Afghan negotiations should be inclusive which means the Afghan government will be included in future talks.  Notwithstanding the above optimistic views expressed in the peace processes, the ground situation remains grave. In essence, the Taliban have gained importance and have frozen out the elected Afghan government. The Russians perceived the US led peace process as the US plan to monopolise the peace talks with the Taliban that was conducted in secrecy while keeping the regional countries in the dark. Hence they took another initiative. The US unilateralist action has increased the salience of Russia and Iran in India’s Afghan policy. Now India has to take well calculated steps for protecting its own interests. While there is a remote possibility for a unified government in Afghanistan given different factions controlling different parts, the current moves give the Taliban a higher position.
This in turn would allow the ISI and Pak Army unleash more jihadis in Kashmir and their efforts to radicalise the region would be accelerated. The situation demands that we keep a close watch on both the processes and take proactive steps to maintain close relations with the elected government. For this India should hold bilateral discussions with Afghan government as also other political leaders who would be contesting the next presidential election. India cannot afford to remain out of the country that Pakistan is assiduously trying. Our geography does not allow us a choice. At the same time, India needs to accelerate the development of Chabahar port to maintain connectivity with Central Asia and Afghanistan. Prophylactic steps in Kashmir would also be required to check the adverse impact of the developments in Afghanistan.

Economic Wed, 13 Feb 2019 10:44:46 +0000
Rate of Afghan Currency against Foreign Currencies Rate of Afghan Currency against Foreign Currencies

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Based on Union of money exchangers in Sari Shahzada, Kabul city, the exchange rate of Afghani as a follow:
One Dollar                                                          74/50       Afs
One Pound Sterling                                                 96       Afs
One Euro                                                            86/50       Afs
One Emirate’s Dirham                                       20/30       Afs
One Thousand Pakistani Rupees                           532      Afs
One Thousand Indian Rupees                              1070      Afs
One Thousand Iranian Rupees                            06/40      Afs
One Russian Ruble                                              01/10     Afs

Economic Tue, 12 Feb 2019 10:54:19 +0000
Construction Work of 20 Km Road Begun in Remote Area of Badakhshan Construction Work of 20 Km Road Begun in Remote Area of Badakhshan

Monday February 11, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The construction work of 20 km road has been started in remote area of northern Badakhshan province.
Eng. Nader Shah Shahna in-charge of rural road construction program in ministry of rural rehabilitation told BNA reporter, the road to be with a sum of 70 million Afghani funded from development budget of the ministry within the next six months.
The construction of the road the remote area of Pamir would be linked with Wakhan district of Bakhshan province, Shahna added.
It is the first road that to be constructed in the remote area, Shahna concluded.

Economic Mon, 11 Feb 2019 07:09:20 +0000
Afghanistan Exports Can Jump To $8 Billion By 2024$8-billion-by-2024.html$8-billion-by-2024.html Afghanistan Exports Can Jump To $8 Billion By 2024

Sunday February 10, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a ceremony held yesterday at Chahar Chenar Palace for introducing acting minister of commerce and industries Ajmal Ahmadi and Kabul mayor Ahmad Zaki Sarfaraz by praising Ajmal Ahmadi for his works, personality, capacity and commitment to the country and his developmental vision said Ahmadi has had key role in reaching Afghanistan to first position in the field of reforms.
“Like Abdul Hameed Zabuli, Ajmal Ahmadi in close cooperation and coordination with private sector will change Afghanistan to an exporting country,” President Ghani said, adding that as a result of close and good cooperation with private sector, the country’s exports will reach to $8 billion by 2014. Regarding to new Kabul mayor Ahmad Zaki Sarfaraz, the country’s President said:
“Ahmad Zaki has worked in framework of ministry of urban development jointly with the American Sasaki Company in the field of Kabul city development and knows problems and can find ways for solution.” President Ghani further said that municipalities should be changed to responsive institutions so that Afghan citizens witnessed principal changes in short-term The country’s President by stressing that their architecture should reflect national and Islamic culture as cities were representing the people’s culture added national and Islamic values were their continued bases and attention that have been paid to construction and renovation of mosques in the past four years was unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan. Afterwards, the newly-appointed acting minister of commerce and industries Ajmal Ahmadi spoke and by praising the country’s President for trusting him said cooperation with private sector, changing Afghanistan to an exporting country and supporting from expansion of industry were three principles that would be paid further attention by his ministry. He added that the level of exports should increase by seven folds and culture of service among employees of the ministry should be strengthened to reach their clear vision.

Economic Sun, 10 Feb 2019 05:28:58 +0000
Ministry of Finance and WB Signs A Grant Agreement Worth 325 Million USD Ministry of Finance and WB Signs A Grant Agreement Worth 325 Million USD

Thursday February 7, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor on Infrastructure and Technology to the President of Afghanistan, and Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, today signed a new financial package totaling $325 million in grants.
“The financing Agreement of the three project signed today with the World Bank, totally worth $ 325 million. It will be implemented in line with the requirements and priorities of the government and the people of Afghanistan to support economic empowerment, service delivery and institutional reforms,” said, acting Finance Minister Humayon Qayoumi, Speaking about the new financing package.
“The new financial package includes $200 million grant to the Eshteghal Zaiee - Karmondena (EZ-Kar) Project, $50 million grant to the Cities Investment Program (CIP) and $75 million grant to finance the Tackling Afghanistan’s Government HRM (Human Resource Management) and Institutional Reforms (TAGHIR). I acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the World Bank to fund these major projects,” he added.
The new financial package includes:
·         $200 million grant to the EshteghalZaiee - Karmondena (EZ-Kar) Project, which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for economic opportunities in Afghan cities where there is a high influx of displaced people. The grant includes $150 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for poorest countries; and $50 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.
·         To improve the sustainability and livability of nine provincial capital cities by strengthening municipal capacity, management, and infrastructure. The grant comprises $25 million from IDA and $25 million from the ARTF.
·         $75 million grant to finance the Tackling Afghanistan’s Government HRM (Human Resource Management) and Institutional Reforms (TAGHIR) project,which will strengthen the capacity of selected line ministries. The grant includes $25 million from IDA and $50 million from ARTF.
“Access to job opportunities and better services is the most crucial need of Afghan people specially the returnees and internally displaced Afghans at this particular time. These new grants are significant step forward in the path to help the Government of Afghanistan strengthen its service delivery capacities and meet its key policy objectives through boosting institutional reforms, ”said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

The EZ-Kar Project applies a whole of community approach and aims to increase economic and job opportunities in the cities with a high influx of returnees and internally displaced people. This will be pursued by increasing the returnees’ access to civil documents, providing short-term employment opportunities, improving market enabling infrastructure, and supporting investor friendly regulatory reforms.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), and Kabul Municipality. The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) will also play a key role. Among other initiatives, the project will support the increase in capacity of MoFA to provide consular services as well as help Afghan refugees in Pakistan access information that will facilitate their economic and social integration in Afghanistan.
The CIP will provide technical assistance to the Government in its implementation of the “Municipal Incentive Fund” under the new Municipal Law for Afghanistan and will instill a culture of “Evidence-Based” municipal investment planning in nine major provincial capital cities in the country. In parallel, the CIP will expand municipal service delivery and rehabilitate basic municipal infrastructure in the selected provincial capital cities. The project complements the ARTF-financed Kabul Municipal Development Program and the IDA-supported Urban Development Support Project.
The TAGHIR project replaces the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) Facility and will assist the Government of Afghanistan to deliver its key policy priorities through merit-based recruitment and administrative reforms in 16-lineministries. The project will support up to 1,500 new civil service positions to enable the ministries to meet objectives and deliver on their priorities. The Independent Administrative and Civil Service Reform Commission will lead the project implementation.

Economic Thu, 07 Feb 2019 09:49:31 +0000
Cost of Afghan Currency Against Foreign Currencies Cost of Afghan Currency Against Foreign Currencies

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Based on Union of money exchangers in Sari Shahzada, Kabul city, the exchange rate of Afghani as a follow:
One Dollar                                                              74/95        Afs
One Pound Sterling                                            97       Afs
One Euro                                                            86/50       Afs
One Emirate’s Dirham                                       20/40       Afs
One Thousand Pakistani Rupees                           538       Afs
One Thousand Indian Rupees                              1070       Afs
One Thousand Iranian Rupees                            06/60       Afs

Economic Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:34:06 +0000
NPC Approves 48 Contracts Worth 157.7 Million USD NPC Approves 48 Contracts Worth 157.7 Million USD

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The 178th meeting of the National Procurement Commission (NPC) presided by H.E Mohammad Ashraf Ghani; the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was held on Sunday evening; February 3rd, 2019 at the Presidential Palace.
In this session; 50 procurement cases were reviewed which resulted in approval of 48 contracts worth 157.7 Million USD which include the following:  Eight non-consultancy contracts for Basic Package of Health Service (BPHS) and Essential Package of Health Service (EPHS) in eight provinces;  Two contracts for infrastructure rehabilitation of Qala-e- Wazir in Khoshal Khan Mena (5th district) and Qala-e- Sultan; 3rd section of 13th district; related to the Kabul Municipality;  The contract for maintenance of 35 MLAT stations for taking control of Afghanistan airspace and airplanes flight check system direction and procuring of airplane technical equipment; related to the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority;  The contract for procurement of 106 items for water testing equipment of chemical laboratory; related to the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan;  The contract for establishment of ICT center in Bamyan University; related to the Ministry of Higher Education;  The contract for procurement of 4000 boxes of 6-electrcity meters; required by Kabul-Breshana Directorate;  Two contracts for procuring of six types of oil and provision of three types of meat; required by President Protection Service General Directorate;  Four contracts for rampart and cleaning of Kabul river, rehabilitation of Bacha Khan tomb in Nangarhar Province, rehabilitation of Shahi Palace and the project for procurement of 111 cleaning items for Office of Chief of Staff for the President; related to the Operation and National Development Support Authority;  The contract for rent of complex for citizens’ charter project of deputy of municipalities; related to the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG);  Two contracts for launch of ISP network and its equipment and the contract for procurement and installation of security cameras and its equipment; related to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT);  The contract for procurement of 270,000 Liter of petrol and 120,000 Liter of diesel; required for vehicles and generators of Supreme Court;  The contract for procurement of three types of security and intelligence equipment in central and regional military entities; related to reconnaissance and intelligence directorate of chief of army staff of Ministry of Defense (MoD);  The contract for procurement of two types of fuel (Diesel and Petrol) on the basis of framework contracts; related to the Attorney General Office; However; the request for procurement of two types of dairy required for military units and regional corps of National Army in seven lots was returned by NPC, and MoD & National Procurement Authority (NPA) assigned to review the procurement of the items from production companies and provide the suitable solution in this regard. During the discussion on non-consultancy contract of Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Service (EPHS) in Herat and Nimroz Provinces were approved in principle, and NPA was assigned to review the proposed bidders in the mentioned provinces. Meanwhile; after review and discussion on the contracts; NPC approved the amendments for the following projects: - Time extension for reconstruction of road from Jani khail road to Kotal Sorkhi and Bel Khail check point; first lot with 16.25 Km gravel pavement in Paktia province related; to the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW); - Time extension for consultancy service project for monitoring of road construction from Chah Anjir to Greshk of Helmand province with 31.6 Km long related; to the MoPW; - Time extension for the reconstruction of the road with asphalt pavement from Daikondi to Shahrestan; first lot, second part; with 10.4 Km in Daikondi province related; to the MoPW. During the discussions on this project; H.E Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan emphasized on further studies on progress of MoPW projects. - Time extension for construction of Dahan Aabdara road, first phase with 10 Km gravel pavement in Maidan Wardak; related to the MoPW, - Time extension with increase in cost for the provision of bandwidth internet for 16 universities related; to MCIT; - The second extension in cost of the project for provision, installation, design & montage of the Andkhoi, Shabarghan substations with the capacity of 20/110/220 KV and development of Mazar-e-Sharif substation related; to the Da Afghanistan Brekhna Sherkat approved in principle and the company was directed to provide all the documents of the project to NPA; - Time & cost extension for procurement of five types of fresh fruits required; by logistic directorate of chief of army stafffor military corps and components of MoD; - Time & cost extension of the project for construction of the embassy complex of Afghanistan in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan; related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA); Subsequently; according to the agenda; the follow up report on implementation of the previous NPC instructive decisions was discussed as following projects: - The contract for consultancy service of the project for development and promote of health information center related; to the Ministry of Public Health; - The contract for reconstruction of the road from Doamanda Mangal to Qalandar; the first phase andsecond lot, with 10 Km gravel pavement in Khost province related; to MoPW, - The contract for reconstruction of the road from Gardez to Zormat district, second phase first lot, with 10 Km asphalt pavement in Paktia province related; to the MoPW; - The contract for procurement of fuel required; by Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat; - The contract for Tazkera (National ID Card) attestation service related; to MoFA was approved for one year and it was decided to reprocess its procurement procedures, and Ministry of Finance & NPA directed to review the beneficial ownership of the proposed bidder. - The contracts for provisions of equipment, maintenance, engineering and procurement of 10 types of security equipment related; to the Woasi Jirga (Lower House) secretariat; The decision of Appeal and Review Committee (ARC) for guidance of NPC pertaining the appeal of construction company related; to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) was approved by NPC. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology requested for the NPC guidance on the procurement of 129,400 liter of fuel to keep the sites active; in Kandahar zone; which NPC decided that to fulfill their necessities, till its procurement via out sources, they can procure it in retail. The NPA request for procurement of armored vehicles required by the procurement entities was also approved by NPC. The Kabul Municipality; requested in the light of the verbal guidance of H.E the President on finalization of the procurement procedures based on World Bank procurement process & procurement law of Afghanistan, about the reconstruction of the road with 3.96 Km asphalt (The 12th lot), the Qargha link road to Kampany road through Spinkalai with 1.15 Km long , the road opposite to the 5th district to the Spinkalai square with 1.32 Km long, the road from Qargha to 5th district with 0.92 Km long, and the road from 5th district to the company road with 0.52 Km long, to Chakar Yapi construction company; which was approved by NPC. In addition; the Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) requested the guideline on lack of collaboration of Ministries of Interior & Defense; about the review of the complaints from both Ministries` officials. His Excellency; Mohammad Ashraf Ghani the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, emphasized that all the entities, on the basis of access to information law; supposed to cooperate with IWA. The Ministry of Interior requested on the guidance of NPC on the projects which their maintenance contracts outdated on 21st December 2018, which NPC extended the project To the next three months. Meanwhile; the MoD presented the report of the review committee; regarding the complaint of Inamullah barat zoi Company; in the first phase of the project for procurement of six types of fresh fruits to NPC, and returned for further technical reviews by NPA. Consequently; the MoD requested for termination of two contracts for procurement of three types of heating items (charcoal heaters, gas heaters, and umbrella shape heaters), and termination of the contract for procurement of goods, the side services, and the proposed repairs of installations, facilities and equipment of national army, regional army corps, and central corps into seven lots on the basis of framework agreement which approved by NPC and NPA entrusted to review the bidder`s claim in this respect. In this meeting; beside the NPC members, the officials of National Procurement Authority, the national and international observers including the Finance, Budget and National Economy Commissions of the Parliament, the Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the Combined Security Transition Command (CSTC-A) of the Resolute Support had also participated.

Economic Tue, 05 Feb 2019 09:31:01 +0000