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Afghanistan to be self-reliant in energy within 4 years: Ghani

Afghanistan to be self-reliant in energy within 4 years: Ghani

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Dec 09, 2017 - 20:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani, while promising efforts at resolving problems of industrialists and increasing domestic products, on Saturday said Afghanistaninfo-icon’s transit routes were being expanded and the country would become self-sufficient in terms of electricity in the next four years.

President Ghani, addressing a three-day ‘Third National Industry Expo’ on the last day in Badam Bagh area of Kabul, said his government was paying serious attention to increasing domestic products.

“Because Afghanistan imports agricultural goods worth $1.5 billion annually and if local products are encouraged, the imports would decline.”

More than 100 local companies attended the three-day expo which kicked off last week on Tuesday. The Ministry of Commerce and Industries held the exhibition under the slogan, “It’s Great, It’s made in Afghanistan”. The event was aimed at introducing local products and finding markets for them.

Based on reports, Afghanistan imported goods worth $8 billion and exported goods worth $500 million last year.

The president said Afghanistan has the capacity to produce more and enhance its exports because pine nuts worth $700 million alone could be exported on annual basis from the country.

Afghanistan agricultural products, such as saffron, pine nuts, pomegranates and others were of great quality, said Ghani, adding a clear cooperation between the government and the private sector should exist in this regard.

“We should convert Afghanistan into an exporting state from importing one. Our people’s lives wouldn’t change unless we improve the country’s trade balance. One thirds of our people sleep empty stomachs every night…there is a dire need that we remember our commitment and work for resolving such issues.”

He said Afghanistan’s ground and air transit routes were being expanded. Ghani cited the first-ever flight to Tashkent as a recent example, adding soon another flight would fly to Baku.

“The issue of power shortage will be fundamentally resolved within the upcoming two years. Afghanistan will be self-reliant in providing power to its people within the coming four years," Ghani said.

Based on a recent survey by NASA, Afghanistan’s western Herat province possessed first position in producing wind power and Afghanistan would work on all aspects of the matter.

Meanwhile, Ghani promised efforts at reducing taxes. He ordered the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to work jointly with the private sector; identify government-owned lands, on which the private sector should cooperate in establishing industrial parks.

Ghani praised the holding of the three-day exhibition and once again directed all government organizations to consume and give preference to local products.

sns/ma

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