ACCI to present 11 plans to London Summit
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said on Tuesday it had prepared nearly a dozen economic development plans for Afghanistan to be presented before the London Conference slated for Dec. 4.
The plans include how to revive the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transport and transit corridor to enable Kabul to access European markets and introduce Afghan-made products.
The corridor, also known as the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor in Afghanistan, will connect South Asia to Central Asia and then to Europe, with Afghanistan serving as a bridge.
Other plans include the development of railroads in Afghanistan, production of electricity and energy from mineral resources in order to facilitate the resources exploitation and export.
The establishment of a centre having a well-equipped system to provide registration services to people. The issuance of permits and their renewal, payment of customs duty and fulfillment of needs at Kabul and the country’s others seven trade centres.
Other plans include how to reduce prices, develop reliable entrepreneurs, policies on industrial parks, framing laws for emery production, a commerce education programme for 200,000 students in line with market demand, encouraging investment and supporting investors.
But today’s press conference remained focused on the revival of the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor. ACCI new chairman Atiqullah Nusrat said Afghanistan had been facing problems in transit trade area over the past 13 years.
“The Afghan government has always tried to resolve these problems and is currently trying to find alternate routes and one of them is the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor,” he said.
He said the route’s revival needed financial resources and they would present to the London Conference a policy in this regard on a priority basis.
Afghan officials hope the two-day London Conference would see the international community renewing its pledges toward Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
Wahidullah Waissi, director general for economic cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said a plan to revive the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor had been presented by his ministry a year ago and had been accepted by the Afghan government and countries linked to the route.
He said searching for alternate transit trade routes was a key part of Afghanistan’s foreign policy. He said the revival of the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor would help shorten distances, bring down rents and bolster ties with countries lying along the route.
ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozai said revival of Lapis Lazuli transit corridor would help resolve many problems currently being faced by Afghan traders in transit trade and hoped they would be able to find money required in this regard.
He said the Asian Development Bank had pledged more than $130 million for the route’s revival, but the money was not enough for the project and a need was seen for some more money. However, he did not give a specific amount of money needed to revive the route.
Alokozai said currently Afghanistan had no benefit from railroads despite being the cheapest and shortest route to connect Afghanistan with central Asian countries, China and Pakistan.
He said Afghanistan’s priority remained the revival of Silk Road, which is part of the Lapis Lazuli transit corridor.
He said the revival of Silk Road needed $40 billion and a Chinese technical team was expected to arrive in Afghanistan next week to assess portion of the historic route in northeastern Badakhshan province’s Wakhan district.
Afghanistan shares a 85-km border with China in Wakhan district and Badakhshan’s Zibak and Wakhan districts connect Afghanistan with Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.
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