17 July 2018

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Monday April 23, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Contracts on three power supply projects have been signed between the Afghan Breshna Shirkat, the main power supply company and three foreign companies’ chiefs, at the Char Chanar Palace, a statement from the Presidential Palace said Sunday.
During a ceremony attended by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, some Afghan high ranking officials and representatives of Bamyan province, chief of the Afghan Breshna Shirkat and the in charges of KEC and Shima Power of India and M.S. Chijian Power of China to supply electricity to the central province of Bamyan, the statement said.
The projects contains extension of 220KVs power with the capacity of 300 megawatt from the Dushi power sub-station to the Bamyan province with the length of up to 180 kilometers costing up to $43.8 million by the Indian KEC company, creation of a substation with the capacity of 20,220 KVs in the Dasht-e-Azhdar of Bamyan province transmitting 32 megawatt electricity costing $11.6 million by the Chinese M.S. Shijiang company, according to the statement.
Likewise, another contract was signed with the Shima power of China supplying power at the cost of $24.1 million to the Bamyan province, providing up to 20,000 households with electricity currently and up to 450,000 customers in the future, said the statement.

Sunday April 22, 2018

Kabul (BNA) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) appreciated Achievements of Afghan Government in the area of increased revenue and necessarily critical reforms in National Budget for ongoing solar year, a statement from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said on Saturday.
The admiration came from IMF Deputy Managing Director of Mitsuhiro Furusawa during a meeting with Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi in Washington DC, the statement said.
Hakimi is on his official visit to US where he participated in International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) spring meetings.
Khalil Sediq, CEO of Da Afghanistan Bank Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan Ambassador to Washington D.C were present, during the meeting and exchanged their views on economic and banking sector.
Minister of Finance thanked IMF for supporting Afghanistan’s financial reform and meanwhile invited him to Geneva Conference that is likely to take place by the end of this year.
Separately, Hakemi held a meeting with Miftah Ismail, Acting Finance Minister of Pakistan.
Both sides discussed strengthening economic and trade ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, assignment of technical working team comprised of representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan to amend the agreement of trade and transit between the countries (APTTA), regional projects including CASA-1000 and TAPI.
Ethel Sennhauser, Vice President of World Bank for South Asia Region and Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan Ambassador to United State were present.
Additionally, both sides also talked about power transmission line from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s exports and imports through Waga Port, Turkham- Jalal Abad Road and other relevant issues.
Finally, Minister of Finance invited his Pakistani counterpart to Kabul to fully discuss APTTA and then a technical team from Afghan side will visit Islamabad to negotiate on the matter.
The Vice President of World Bank for South Asia Region reiterated the bank’s support to economic and trade ties between the two counties.

Saturday April 21, 2018

Kabul (BNA) The High Economic Council (HEC) with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the chair discussed establishment of dry ports and investment plan for extraction of the marble stones in the country, a presidential statement said.
Hinting to proposal made by the Ministry of Finance on establishment of dry ports in the country, President Ghani emphasized on evaluation of the opportunities, limitations and standards, tasking the ministry of finance and transport to work on a specific draft in close cooperation with the presidential senior advisor on infrastructural affairs, Dr. Homayoun Qaiumi.
Addressing the session, the president said the establishment of ports were aimed to ease import and export affairs and emphasized on capacity of the companies to work in the project. According to presidential statement, the ports would have space for parking, storages, loading, packing, custom process, transportation of the goods, spring houses and taxation. Later, the meeting was briefed on the joint report of the Ministries of Mines and Petroleum and Commerce and Industries on marble and granite stones extraction in the country. The meeting after detailed discussion approved the draft and emphasized on implementation of proper technical standards and decreasing of tax tariff on the companies.
Welcoming investments in the country, the president emphasized on effectiveness of the investments in the country.
According to initial estimation, Afghanistan’s marble stone mines worth more than 150 million USD and 25 companies are directly engaged with exploitation and another 108 with the processing, the presidential statement added.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Use of stones and jewelries has been common since ancient times but unfortunately today, imports of foreign stones and gems have unabated marketing of our original precious stones. In an interview with The Kabul Times reporter, Sayed Zakaria one of the jewelers in Chicken Street, Kabul city said, in today’s domestic markets, Afghans and foreign tourists are the usual customers of domestic engraved stones and our business was progressing but today the situation is disappointing.
He added, our current markets are occupied by foreign jewelries which are made with nice designs and cheap prices.
People focus on quantity not on quality. Those jewelries are made by machine but we lack these equipment otherwise we would attract large number of customers.
Talking on the cutting of Afghan precious stones, Zakaria said, most shopkeepers send stones including Lapis, Emerald etc. to UAE, India and Thailand for cutting and receive them back which requires a huge expenditures. If our national traders with support of government construct and establish a stone cutting factory, the problem of engravers would be concluded. We ask attention of the government.
Chairman of Kabul Engravers Union Mohammad Ibrahim said, since the number of tourists has been decreasing that has caused unfading of domestic jewelries and stones. Afghanistan has not managed to hold a contract with other countries on trade of precious stones and Afghan original stones and jewelries are transferred to outside.
He added, the jewelries imported from India, Thailand, Iran, UAE into our domestic markets, are not pure but are mixed, as their surface are covered with silver and their contents are filled with other materials but Afghan products are made of original and pure silvers.
He clarified that Afghan jewelries in foreign exhibitions have plenty of customers but inside the country no marketing are available.
He asked the government to pave the way for imports of jewelries’ technology and instrument.
Experts believe that, increasing foreign jewelries with desirable designs, have strongly undermined marketing of domestic similar products.
Sellers and customers of jewelries and stones express concern that supply of foreign jewelries decorated with faked and low quality stones has decreased value of original and high quality domestic stones in foreign markets and have bankrupted its markets.
The government and private sector have failed yet to establish and operate a factory for cutting of precious stones inside the country.

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