Rupee use devaluating afghani in Nangarhar
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Shopkeepers and economic experts in eastern Nangarhar province say using Pakistani currency to do business has eroded people’s trust in the afghani.
After Dr. Najibullah’s government was toppled, the Pakistani currency started circulating in a number of provinces including Nangarhar.
Former president Hamid Karzai appointed regional commissions to counter the use of rupee and pave the ground for the afghani, but this strategy did not succeed.
Abdul Wakeel, a money-changer at the money market in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 95 percent people in Nangarhar used the Pakistani currency.
“Many people and government officials come to us to convert their salaries in afghanis into rupees. But a few persons come to do the opposite.”
Ahmad Shah, a resident of Batikot district, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “I just received my salary and want it to convert into rupees. Buying goods in afghanis has a great loss because shopkeepers sell them at double rate.”
He said government servants were paid salaries in the afghanis which if used to buy goods had a great loss.
He said the government should take serious measures and set out a grace period after which no one should be allowed to sell or buy goods in the Pakistani currency.
“The president should give a week-long grace period to the provincial administration and force it into banning the use of the Pakistani currency. Creating awareness in this regard will not work, a tough stance is required.”
Economics teacher at the Nangarhar University, Prof. Mohammad Bashir Dodyal, said the use of Pakistani rupees had a negative impact on the circulation and value of the Afghan currency.
“The credibility of currency lies in its circulation. If we convert the afghani into rupee and then buy goods in rupee, it hurts the credibility of the afghani.”
He said changing afghanis into rupees benefitted moneychangers, but the practice had a bad impact on the value of afghanis. “The commission moneychangers charge in selling afghanis is tantamount to setting them ablaze.”
A shopkeeper in Jalalabad, Matiullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News customers used to buy goods from his shop in rupees. “99 percent people buy things in rupees. We have no option but to sell our goods in rupees. If the government generalises the use of afghani, we will also sell our goods in the afghani,” he said, confirming most shopkeepers bought the afghanis at low rate.
Jalalabad-based Da Afghanistan (central) Bank director Ahmad Zia Tawhidyar said former president Hamid Karzai had appointed a joint commission of security organs and representatives of banks to counter the use of the Pakistani rupee and the panel had fined many individuals.
But later a number of people visited the Presidential Palace and urged Karzai to dissolve the commission and he agreed, Tawhidyar said.
He said the commission’s activities had since been suspended and only awareness-creating campaigns continued asking people to do their businesses in the afghani.
The governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said Governor Salim Khan Kunduzi had launched his efforts at countering the Pakistani currency and in this regard a commission would soon spring into action.
He acknowledged the wide use of the Pakistani currency in Nangarhar, but said the people should also give preference to the afghani for the sake of increasing it value.
Besides Nangarhar, the Pakistani currency is widely used in other eastern provinces including Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan.
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