Cabinet approves 11 demands of investors
KABUL (Pajhwok): In an effort to encourage investment in the country, the government has accepted 11 key demands of investors, an official said on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal 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.
As part of the investment policy, the gathering floated 14 recommendations, which the minister placed before the Council of Ministers. The Cabinet approved 11 of them on Monday.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Chief Executive Mohammad Qurban Haqjo told a news conference in Kabul the Cabinet had referred the proposals to relevant organs for implementation.
Legislative decrees would be issued on whitening black money, curbing terrorist financing and development of the mining sector, Haqjo said, acknowledging some individuals provided financial support to militants.
One of the decrees would propose punishment for the people funding terrorists in different ways, the ACCI head said, adding the Cabinet had agreed to announce incentives for women entrepreneurs.
Similarly, the items that are manufactured domestically and meet local needs will not be imported. Industrialists will be provided with land plots and an industrial development bank will be set up to facilitate them.
Haqjo said the Cabinet had decided to extend validity period of the investment licence from one to three years and ensure a balance in flights operated by domestic and foreign airlines.
The recommendations include resolution of private sector problems by government institutions, specially the Attorney General Office, weekly days-off on Friday and Saturday and a cut in customs duty.
But these demands are yet to be approved, according to the ACCI chief, who said the recommendations had been referred to the Cabinet’s Economic Committee for detailed discussion.
Speaking on the occasion, ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alkozai complained a 2011 presidential order for resolving traders’ problems had not been implemented so far.
“Investors would not come to Afghanistan on the basis of mere assurances about incentives from the president and others. All policies and laws will fizzle out in the absence of practical steps,” he remarked.
In 2013, the investment level fell by 46 percent and corruption increased by 40 percent, claimed Alkozai, who went on to allege that money was extorted from traders on different pretexts.
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