25 April 2018

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Economic

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Kabul (BNA)  President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said the country’s eight zones would be provided with standardized terminals and assured that the new law on transportation services had been provide with basic changes, a statement from the Presidential Office said Friday.
Chairing the meeting to discuss transport problems, the president said that the government was making effort to provide investment and the transportation partnership opportunities for the highways and city transportation.
He said the transportation companies should consider required standards and the government would prevent any corruption in the electronic transit system, according to the statement.
The president, according to the statement, instructed the land administration to specify land for the capital and eight zones of the country to provide facilities for the citizens and the transportation companies.
President Ghani also directed the ministry of transportation to set a deadline for the whole transportation companies, in consultation with those companies and the presidential advisor on the banking affairs, the statement quoted.
The president reiterated that the people should be satisfied with the transportation companies’ services and any reckless change in the related law was a crime.
 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance and Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, signed three grant agreements worth $691million to help Afghanistan revitalize its economy and improve access to quality healthcare.
The new financing, which was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on March 28, 2018 aims to help Afghanistan increase access to quality healthcare, modernize state-owned banks, and expand regional telecommunication connectivity, e-government services and create enabling environment for private sector investment.
“Improving the quality of health services, strengthening the banking infrastructure and digitizing government systems will enhance our ability to deliver better and quality services to our people.”said Eklil Hakimi, Finance Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. ”This contribution demonstrates the continued commitment and support of international community helping the government of Afghanistan implement priority reforms for sustainable development.”
The financing package includes grants of $ 231 million provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, as well as $425 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), and $35 million from the Global Financing Facility (GFF), both managed by the World Bank.
“Afghanistan is implementing an ambitious reform program in a context of strong budget pressures imposed by low domestic revenue, though improving, massive security spending and enormous development needs,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. ”In this challenging environment, we remain committed to helping the Government of Afghanistan further improve service delivery to the Afghan people. For example, the new health project will improve health and nutrition services for the entire population of the country in all 34 provinces.”
The total support of $691million consists of three grants:
· $600 million to the Afghanistan Sehatmandi (Health) Project to increase the utilization and quality of health, nutrition, and family planning services across Afghanistan. IDA will provide $140 million, while ARTF is expected to provide an additional $425 million, supplemented by a $35 million grant from GFF. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Public Health;
· $51 million from IDA to the Afghanistan Digital CASA 1 Project to increase access to affordable internet, attract private investors to the sector, and improve the Government’s capacity to deliver digital government services, by supporting a regionally integrated digital infrastructure and creating enabling environment. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will be the implementing agency; and
· $40 million from IDA to the Modernizing Afghan State Owned Banks Project that aims to strengthen corporate governance and enhance operational efficiency of state owned banks. The project, to be implemented by the Ministry of Finance, will contribute to the modernization, transparency, and efficiency of the three Afghan state-owned banks: New Kabul Bank, Bank Millie Afghan and Pashtany Bank, and will modernize their IT infrastructure and develop sustainable business models to support inclusive growth.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health, Shahzad Aryobee, Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Ethel Sennhauser, acting Vice President of World Bank for South Asia Region were present,
 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kabul (BNA) In a meeting held recently between Finance Minister of Afghanistan, Eklil Hakimi and the US deputy ambassador in Kabul, the both sides discussed in connection with signing of agreement on US assistance tax exemption.
The achievements of government of Afghanistan in collection of national incomes that was also approved by International Monetary Fund (IMF), the opportunities and privileges of membership of Afghanistan in World Custom Organization (WCO), new reformation of this organization for customs of Afghanistan, exchange of customs information among neighboring countries for the aim of reformation and counter corruption and other issues were also the agenda of this meeting.
A decision was made so that the both sides’ technical teams to work on legal and technical dimensions of abovementioned agreement till the same to be implemented effectively.
At the same time, in regard with the US assistance tax exemption to Afghanistan, an economic expert, Saifuddin Saihoon in a briefing with The Kabul Times reporter said that no doubt, in every society, revenues cause the economic growth, but the tax exemptions can bring benefit for them not for Afghan people.
According to him, if the ministry of finance receives revenue from all traders, companies and national traders who import their commodities, it necessitates to receive revenue from imported goods and assistance rendered to Afghanistan as well. Because, giving tax is a must.
This economic expert added that we know that till now, the US rendered much assistance to Afghanistan, but economically, this country is a powerful one from economic point of view and is obligated to help Afghanistan towards its economic growth.
The people of Afghanistan also believe that in long-run receiving revenue can reach Afghanistan to its self-sufficiency, because, all goods and commercial commodities imported to Afghanistan, the importers should pay revenue to government.
If an ordinary shopkeeper, pays tax to government, it would be oppression. It holds true in connection with the US as well that this country to receive tax from a poor country like Afghanistan.
Naseh, a resident of Kabul city says that we expect from the US beside its cooperation with people and government of Afghanistan, this country should also cooperate Afghanistan in paying of revenue so that Afghanistan to stand on its own feet from economic point of view.
Shukria-Kohistani
 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan is expected to invest on fresh and dried fruits, carpet, marble, granite and other precious stones, as per part of ‘Export Expansion Policy,’ by which the country’s exports would rise to $1billion this year.
The policy is made by the ministry of commerce and industries for the next five years (2018-2022), and if properly applied, would help the country’s export reach to $1 billion during the current year, said Musafer Quqandi, the spokesperson of the ministry, adding the policy would help the country’s exports increase by 30 percent by this year.
The policy would mostly focus on domestic products to compete in the world markets and provide high benefit to the country’s traders, said Quqandi.
Meanwhile, Siyam Pesarlay, the spokesperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries asked the government to provide required support to the traders and help in the process of standardization and marketing of the country’s exports.
He said the plan has been shared with the ministry of commerce and industries and expected to help traders export more products abroad.
“In the year past, the level of the country’s export was $800 million, but during the ongoing year, the level of the country’s exports has reached to more than $1 billion,” said the spokesman.
The Export Expansion Strategy has been under discussion since the last ten months by the private sector and the related organs as well as the representatives of the International Trade Center (ITC).
Under the policy, since then, the National Export Strategy was approved in a meeting of High Economic Council (HEC) chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, last week, at the Char Chanar Palace, said the spokesman.
The National Export Strategy, mainly includes nourishment of domestic products and the private flexibility for quality products, providing work and investment, increase of support in the markets and the strengthening of organizational capacity and providing support to the government and restoration of peace through economic growth.
The chamber of commerce and industries, while appreciating the move by the government, hoped this to be a step towards domestic products’ growth and asked the government to take practical step in implementation of the plan.
Shukria-Kohistani
 

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