Paktia traders concerned at insecurity
GARDEZ (PAN): The business community in southeastern Paktia province has warned of withdrawing their capital and investment if the government fails to improve the security situation.
The businessmen complained traders and their relatives were being kidnapped for ransom but the government had been unable to control lawlessness in the province.
Mohammad Nasir Alamyar, the provincial head for the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), told Pajhwok Afghan News traders had been robbed of over 100 million afghanis in different parts of the province.
The government, he demanded, should adopt effective measures to protect investors, warning they would shift their investment to other countries if the situation persisted.
He complained the government never bothered to ensure release of businessmen, including Rahim Gardezi and Haji Mohammad Gardezi, kidnapped by gunmen months ago.
A local trader, Haji Momin, said the company of Rahim Gardezi had a large investment in the province and extended poor families financial help. No one would invest in Paktia if the government failed to protect the lives and investment of business community, he noted.
Provincial police chief, Col. Zalmai Oryakhel, acknowledged traders’ concerns and said steps were being mulled to award weapons’ licenses to businessmen for their protection.
“All traders should maintain close contact with provincial security forces. Investors should meet us and share their concerns and grievances,” he added.
Eng. Nazir Ahmad, an economist, said: “The situation for traders is really pathetic. The business community is not provided with needed facilities, including an environment free of fear.”
Because of a growing sense of insecurity among investors, he said, Paktia remained deprived of electricity, industrial parks and investment. He believed hundreds of locals would get jobs if the government ensured protection of investors.
Deputy Governor Abdul Wali Sahi said Gardez had 15 small factories producing edibles and non-food items. Several meetings had been held with businessmen, he said, adding a piece of land had been allocated for an industrial park which would be handed over to traders soon.
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