07 July 2020

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani approved a mechanism proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to facilitate transiting items from Pakistan to Afghanistan at the special meeting of High Economic Council held yesterday at the Presidential Palace.
The mechanism is believed to enable a joint and cohesive work between the government and private sector.
The president announced government’s willingness to facilitate and support the private sector investments on production or distribution of essential items such as cooking oil, a statement from the presidential press office said.
President Ghani said well-equipped testing laboratories to diagnose coronavirus should be established in each zone of the country, referring to the concerns of the governor of Kandahar over lack of testing centers in that province.
The president instructed the Ministry of Public Health to adopt necessary measures on establishment of laboratories and added that 50 million Afghanis will be transferred to each Kandahar and Nangarhar to be spent transparently based on priorities.

Tuesday March 31, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Ministry of Finance says more than two billion Afghanis (over $26 million) reduction has been seen in national revenues for the first three months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last year.
National revenues were more than 37 billion Afghanis ($480 million) in the first three months of last fiscal year, while it is around 35 billion Afghanis ($455 million) for the same period this year, according to the Finance Ministry.
Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said the reduction is due to "political issues," but also to decreases in customs tax.
“At the beginning of the new fiscal year, we had some political issues which directly impacted the revenues. Also, the imports and exports have also had their impacts as the country’s borders were inactive,” he said. “These all resulted in a reduction (in the revenues) compared to the last year.”
Reports indicate that Afghanistan’s neighbors have closed their borders to trade over the coronavirus outbreak. This has also increased grocery prices in local markets.
Experts said that prevention of corruption is the only way to ensure an increase in the revenues under the current circumstances.
“Transparency and monitoring and new economic plans should be taken into consideration by the government,” said Taj Mohammad, an economic affairs expert. “We might face further problems if the situation created by the coronavirus outbreak continues.”
The figures show that this is the first time in the last five years that the national revenues have fallen.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a video conference has directed deputy ministers of defense, interior and finance that effective savings in security sector should be implemented within two years rather than three years.
In the video conference held yesterday, deputy ministers of the respective ministries reported the country’s President about saving of $300 million in defense and security sector through reforms and prevention of unnecessary and ineffective expenditures in the past one year.
Assuring of the continued assistance of the international community to ANDSF, President Ghani instructed deputy ministers of the respective ministries to save $1billion in the security and defense sector within coming one year while maintaining quality services to the security forces be observed.
The country’s President stressed that saving and prevention from unnecessary expenditures in all levels of the government was a principal step towards reaching a self-sufficient Afghanistan, directing deputy ministers to prepare their plans in light of which the two-years saving program were implemented.
President Ghani also instructed Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Commission to prepare and implement a saving plan in Afghanistan civil services system.
In his addressing to the nation the other day, the country’s President said that due to reduction in international aid to Afghanistan, particular programs would be taken in hand to fill the gap of the assistance, adding that reduction of the assistance would not have negative impacts on key government sectors.

Monday, March 23, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Almost two weeks have passed since Afghan aviation companies announced a near-total shutdown of international flights, but some foreign companies are still flying in and out of Afghanistan.
According to the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA), Afghan domestic companies Ariana Airlines and Kam Air now only have flights from Dubai and Pakistan. And Pakistan has also imposed restrictions on the transit of goods flown in from Afghan airline companies, said ACAA.
But the head of the authority, Mohammad Qasim Wafaeezada, said foreign airline companies, primarily those based in the UAE, are conducting their flights to Kabul from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Islamabad. But the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority recently announced that it will ban flights by Iran’s Mahan Air because of the coronavirus and flights by other companies to Iran have not been banned. Wafaeezadad said that domestic flights are normal.
“Restrictions were imposed on flights due to the coronavirus and required all flights to have credible health certificates,” Wafazeezada said, referring to the ban on Afghan airliners, including Kam Air and Ariana Airlines, by foreign countries.
The Ariana Afghan Airlines saying that have taken some precautionary measures to provide a safe environment for its passengers travelling to different provinces and abroad.
India’s External Affairs Ministry in a statement on March 19 said “no scheduled commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22 for one week.”
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Emirates Airlines on Saturday suspended its flights to several destinations including capital Kabul due to the spike in the outbreak of Covid-19.
“In response to the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, Emirates is taking extra steps that go above and beyond industry and regulatory requirements to ensure our customers’ health and comfort, and provide you with confidence when planning your travel,” Airline said on its website.
“Several countries have imposed travel and immigration restrictions due to COVID-19. All customers are requested to check relevant travel advisories from and to the countries to which they are traveling.”
“This is a dynamic situation and it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure there are no entry restrictions at their travel destination. IATA Travel Centre provides a list of travel advisories relating to COVID-19.”
The Airline has suspended flights to several destinations across the world that include Kabul City till June 30.

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