Not much done for economic self-sufficiency: Haqjo
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) chief on Tuesday said many programmes, policies and laws remained on paper only and could not be implemented.
Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, while speaking at an international expo involving food and construction materials in Kabul, said it was discouraging that concerns were being raised about growing insecurity, unemployment and mass migration of the youth to foreign countries.
“If we see generally, Afghanistan is not heading towards a desirable destination. Security is deteriorating on a daily basis and nothing on economic front has been done. The election era promises are nowhere to be seen,” he remarked.
Haqjo said the government’s attention remained largely focused on security, political and other issues, while most of the attention should have been given to domestic production and support for investments.
He said the value of food items imported last year stood at $1.8 billion. “This is official data. There is no doubt that smuggling and fraud take place at customs departments, increasing this amount to $4 billion,” he added.
Haqjo said $1.1 billion worth construction materials had been imported last year, when $240 million worth cement was imported. He said four cement factories existed in the country, but only one of them was operational.
Haqjo said the staggering amount of imports showed there existed a huge opportunity for domestic products. If any of these products were produced domestically, they would find good market, he believed.
“In the past due to lack of roads, factories and other facilities, we would import everything from abroad and it wasn’t considered a problem. But now after a decade we still import all our basic things from abroad that means we have economically failed,” he continued.
The AISA head urged the government to talk less and act more, resolve the investors’ problems and encourage investments in the country.
The government, he said, should pay special heed to AISA, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and the ministries of commerce, urban development, mines, agriculture and energy and water for self-sufficiency and cut in imports.
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