4-year investment strategy being evolved: Abdullah
KABUL (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday said the unity government was working on a four-year investment strategy and was determined to resolve problems being faced by investors and take steps for attracting investment in the country.
The CEO was addressing a conference on “Evaluating the Flow of Investment in Afghanistan” organised by the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) in coordination with the private sector here.
AISA Chief Mohammad Qurban Haqjo said in his opening remarks that investment had been made in mining, telecom, transport, finance, banking and insurance sectors during the past 14 years but it was not enough.
He said the period saw steps being taken to provide suitable environment to investors, but still a lot of work was needed to be done.
He said today’s conference was a platform to highlight and discuss problems plaguing the investment sector and investors.
Haqjo also said the conference would also help identify priorities and determine future strategy regarding investment and resolution to problems being faced by the private sector.
He said the country’s economy was not in good shape following the withdrawal of foreign forces, elaborating that investment flow and economic activities had declined and insecurity grown.
He said the government was striving to push Afghanistan from the aid-based economy towards self-reliance.
Khan Jan Alokozai, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), said the former and current governments did not honour pledges to boost economy and industrial sector of the country.
Due to a lack of government support, most investors had left the country and sought asylum in foreign countries, he said.
He added 10,000 factories of carpet production were being run by Afghans in Pakistan and the Pakistani government had exempted these factories from taxes for the next ten years.
He said the Afghans-owned factories were operating in Pakistan because there was no suitable environment for them in Afghanistan where insecurity and high taxes were preventing factories from being established.
He asked the CEO to encourage investors to stop flying their capital from Afghanistan to foreign countries.
Abdullah acknowledged some problems that remained were hurting the investment sector and the country’s economic growth. He said the government was determined to bring peace and stability in order to improve the country’s economy.
He said unnecessary taxes on common people did not help economic development and that they should learn from past experiences in encouraging foreign investment in the country.
The CEO said it was government’s responsibility to create attractive atmosphere for investment and industrial development.
“We are gathered here to share experiences how to deliver good services to the people and take steps for facilitating entrepreneurship in the country,” he said.
For investment in infrastructural schemes, he said, the people would be witness to remarkable projects in energy and transport sectors.
Abdullah said Afghanistan’s economic policies were aimed at alleviating poverty, creating jobs and ensuring sustainable and uniform development, something impossible without the support of the private sector.
“Due to bad security in 2015, we spent most of our energy improving the security sector instead of the development,” he said, adding that the security situation was a big challenge for the government.
“Administrative corruption is a bitter reality which we inherited from the past government and it needs a strong will to be eliminated”, he said.
Commerce and Industries Minister Homayon Rasa said the economic condition of the country had been good between 2005 and 2013 but foreign assistance reduced in 2014, plunging the country in depression.
He said encouraging investors was one of the best ways to improve the country’s economy and the government was trying to facilitate entrepreneurs.
The Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) has to facilitate investors, simplify administrative affairs for them, reduce taxes and closely cooperate with them, he suggested.
Economy Minister Abdul Sattar Murad said the government was trying to resolve problems being faced by investors and provide them a good investment environment.
For example, he said, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (PAPI) gas pipeline project would improve the country’s economic situation.
Urban Development Minister Sadat Nadari said they would support investors through programmes encouraging entrepreneurship.
He asked investors to invest in townships, reconstruction of unplanned areas in Kabul, development of commercial areas and recreational areas in cities.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.