22 October 2019

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Economic

Saturday October 19, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with Afghanistan National Standard Authority (ANSA) officials in his office late on Wednesday, BNA reported. The ANSA officials presented the organization’s performance report in standardization, assessing products in compatibility with standards, standard sign, metrology, and creating a system for laboratories. ANSA officials also shared challenges they face with and suggestions with the President and stressed on structural reforms and increasing the organization’s budget. President Ghani said that there was need for making domestic products based on international standards for better competition in the global markets.
He asked ANSA to work on specific amendments in standards considering to the market requirements so domestic products would contain better quality and according to international norms. He underlined the need for increasing exports said that exports could be increased if the quality of products get improved to the international level. President Ghani said that ANSA should focus on specific types of exporting products so Afghanistan goods would better compete in international markets.

Friday October 18, 2019 Kabul (BNA) Although products of Kandahar pomegranate gardens increased by 25pc this year but exports of this fruit to the world markets was fading due to Pakistan heavy tariffs. In reaction to imposing of heavy tariffs by Pakistan on Afghan agricultural products, particularly pomegranates, a number of horticultures said that due to not exports of this product to foreign markets, its price has decreased in domestic markets. Ghulam Haidar Khan owner of an orchard in Dand district, Kandahar province who has planted 15000 pomegranate saplings said, in previous years Kandahar pomegranates were exported to Pakistan and through it to globle markets like India. Now due to hike of tariffs on this item, its exports have considerably reduced to world markets. He added, due to increase of pomegranate harvest, domestic markets are not sufficient for its supply. Expressing concern for not supply of his pomegranate inside the country, he asked the government to establish a juice production factory in Kandahar. He continued, as a result of recent rains, pomegranate gardens were damaged in a number of Kandahar districts. Due to affecting with an unknown disease, pomegranates were damaged and their prices reduced in domestic markets and due to lack of professional agronomists, this disease was not diagnosed. According to pomegranate dealers, good pomegranates are supplied in domestic markets Afs 60 per kilo while in past year it was supplied Afs 100 per kilo. Director of Kandahar provincial directorate of agriculture Sayed Haffizullah Sayeedy said, this year pomegranate harvest increased to 15-25 pc. Last year pomegranate harvest was 80850 tons while this year it reached to 178125 tons but due to reduction of exports, it caused many problems to horticultures. We train hundreds horticultures every year. Kandahar is famous for its delicious and high quality pomegranates and according to agricultural officials, over nine million pomegranate saplings have been planted in 9500 hectare lands and it has been estimated that each sapling produces 30 kg pomegranates. Lack of foreign markets, high tariffs and sanctions on Wagah port are major problems ahead of Afghan fruits exporters. Although efforts were made for removal of these sanctions but didn’t produced positive results. Following increasing tension with India over Kashmir issue, Pakistan closed Wagah port for transactions between Kabul-Delhi. In-charge of public affairs of presidential office for banking and financial affairs Samir Rasa said that they are intending to find new markets in other countries for exports of pomegranates as a number of countries including UAE, China and EU countries have shown interests to purchase Afghan pomegranates. An air corridor has recently been opened between Kabul and Azerbaijan for exports of goods and agricultural products. Rasa added that so far three tons pomegranate have been exported while last year eleven tons were exported via air corridor to India, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ansari

Friday October 18, 2019 Kabul (BNA) A meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs was held on Gwadar Port under the chairmanship of Senator Kehda Babar Baloch. Senator Muhammad Akram Baloch, customs chief collector, finance and development officials, Gwadar Port Authority chairman, administrators of Chinese companies and top officials of other departments participated in the meeting. The committee was briefed on the preparations of Gwadar Port, Gwadar Free Zone and Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. Senator Babar Baloch said that all arrangements to handle cargo shipment from Pak-Afghan Transit Trade to Gwadar Port have been completed, while all facilities had been made available at the Gwadar Port. Baloch informed the session that works on Gwadar Free Zone was undergoing at a fast pace and will be completed by the end of 2019. He maintained that construction of offices, storage hall and cold storage on 60 acres of the free zone was in the last phase. The meeting was told that work on Gwadar Expressway was also underway. After the completion of the expressway, Gwadar Port will be linked with Makran Coastal Highway. Senator Baloch remarked that matters with Afghan officials had been agreed for starting Afghan Transit Trade from Gwadar Port and trade would commence soon from there. The meeting was informed that the government would provide best facilities to local and foreign investors in Gwadar and that stringent measures had been taken to provide security to the entrepreneurs. The senator observed that Pakistan with the cooperation of China would open technical centers on the coastal sites of Jiwani, Pashkan and Pasni with a cost of Rs12 billion. “This would equip the youth with technical education,” he said. Receiving complaints about the poor performance of port operation software system and fiber optic at the Gwadar Port, the convener directed the customs, Gwadar Port Authority and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority officials to complete the work within two weeks and submit a report. Tribune Ansari

Friday October 18, 2019 Kabul (BNA) India will be sending a consignment of 75000 MT (metric tons) of wheat to Afghanistan in November 2019 as part of its humanitarian gesture. The consignment will be sent via the Chabahar port and the supply will commence from Kandala port next month. India first sent a consignment of wheat via Chabahar in 2017 when they started the supply of 1.1 million tons of wheat for Afghanistan. The 2017 consignment also paved the way for operationalization of the Chabahar port as a reliable way for connectivity for Afghanistan. As part of its humanitarian gesture, India is also providing financial assistance for the treatment of Afghan children suffering from congenital heart disease. According to Indian envoy to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar, in the last four years around 2000 Afghan children in the age group of 4 months to 18 years have been treated with India’s assistance of US $4 million. Speaking at the 37th anniversary of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (SRCS), Vinay Kumar spoke about the financial assistance being provided by New Delhi for treatment of Afghan children suffering from Congenital Heart Disease and commended the "outstanding work of ARCS and its volunteers in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan affected by the conflict and natural disasters. From infrastructure to humanitarian aid to building institutions, India is engaging with Afghanistan according to the country's development priorities. New Delhi on Tuesday completed the replacements for all four Mi 24V helicopters it had given to Afghanistan in 2015/2016. While 2 helicopters were given earlier this year, rest 2 were handed over to Afghan National Security Forces or ANDSF on Tuesday. The landlocked country is being connected via the Chabahar and the India-Afghanistan Air Corridor by India. Dnaindia Ansari

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