ACCI leadership asked to step down, hold fresh polls
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan business community, entrepreneurs and private sector leaders on Monday demanded the current leadership of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) step down and hold fresh elections immediately.
They stressed at a press conference here that the current board’s tenure had expired 18 months ago and ‘it has been refusing to hold a new round of elections.’
In a statement, the business community said the Afghan entrepreneurs, businessmen and women wanted the ACCI leadership to adhere to the laws of the chamber and those of the country to ensure sustainable development of the market, business and economy of the country.
They also stressed it was duty of the chamber to prevent any mistrust, misuse of public resources, abuse of power and authority.
“A continuation of holding positions by individuals, elected as board directors in 2011, is illegitimate and against the laws of the chamber,” said Sayed Javed Andish, Chairman of Karwan University, a privately-owned educational institution.
The business community provided a long list of issues and challenges it faced. The issues ranged from transit issues from seaports to high and unaffordable taxes and duties, bribery and corruption at the customs department.
They raised concern at kidnapping of businessmen, procurement issues and challenges, low quality of services especially in large projects, lack of electronic payment systems, failure to attract foreign direct investment, WTO representation, low employment and brain drain challenges, lack of support mechanisms and programs for Afghan businesses especially for women-owned businesses, misuse of ACCI resources by those in authority, capital flight etc.
“These issues are further magnified by the lack of intellectual, professional and globalised leadership experience in ACCI to communicate, coordinate and facilitate international trade, investment and economic exchange efforts with stakeholders in global financial, business and political capitals such as Beijing, Singapore, Dubai, London and New York.”
They said the chamber had failed to properly represent its members domestically and represent Afghanistan internationally.
“Failure of the ACCI to address the challenges its membership and the Afghan industries face makes ACCI irrelevant to the Afghan market,” said Omar Mansoor Ansari, Chairman of National ICT Alliance of Afghanistan (NICTAA). “This undermines the interests of the members that it claims to represent in Afghanistan,” he added.
The participants demanded ACCI and other responsible bodies play its role in supporting the private sector, holding elections through a transparent process to ensure it is a representative body of the private sector and can contribute to the economic growth and development of already fragile Afghan economy.
They warned if their demands were not listened to they would continue protesting in larger groups throughout the country.
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