Package of inducements for investors promised
KABUL (Pajhwok): Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal on Sunday said the government was taking effective measures to provide investors with all possible facilities and meet their genuine demands.
Zakhilwal made the remarks at a gathering in Kabul, attended by government officials and private sector representatives. Participants discussed the government’s investment policy and its implementation.
One investor Mohammad Amiri, speaking on behalf of private sector representatives, said Afghan businessmen were faced with problems, including electricity, finance and land plots.
He added local investors were self-reliant in manufacturing non-alcoholic beverages, biscuits and mineral water. But imports of the same items by some foreign firms had created problems for local businesspeople, he explained.
Fareshta, a female entrepreneur, echoed Amiri’s views and asked the government to facilitate small and medium enterprises. She called for the implementation of the investment policy.
In response, the finance minister said the Cabinet would take up the problems at a meeting on Monday. The Council of Ministers would try to frame a consistent policy in this regard, he added.
Zakhilwal promised he would place a recommendation before the Cabinet regarding the sale of land plots to investors at reasonable rates. The land cost would be deferred for a decade under the recommendation.
He said other recommendations included electricity supply to traders at lower prices and a 10-year tax holiday for local exporters. “All those making investments in the country in 2014 and 2015 will be entitled to these facilities.”
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mohammad Qurban Haqjo said the country was going through a sensitive phase, as security and economic transition continued.
Over the past 12 years, he said, the country’s economy had been dependent on international assistance. “But from now on, concrete efforts are needed to make Afghanistan self-reliant,” he stressed.
Zakhilwal supported signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US if Afghanistan’s interests were protected and guaranteed. Even if the deal was not inked, investors should not worry because Afghan forces were capable of maintaining security on their own, he remarked.
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