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Afghan Mili Bank signs soft-loan expansion agreement

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Afghan Mili Bank on Sunday signed an agreement with the National Enterprise Board to boost up traders accessibility to financial services in the country.

Governor of the bank Ahmad Khesraw Zia said that lack of access to soft-loans facility was major hurdle before the traders that hampered economic growth. “So, today we want to overcome the challenge and bridge the gap between businessmen and banks,” he beamed.

Speaking at a press conference here he said that banking sector has over $4 billion reserves, but only $800 million was in circulation. The agreement has been signed to bring in use the reserves.

He elaborated that as per the agreement inked with the National Enterprise Board, businessmen would have the opportunity to get long-term loan with five percent lower interest rate than the market.

Loans had been categorized and would be given after assessment of business and its risk, he asserted. The bank will allocate $200 million for loans to companies and enterprises.

Chief of the National Enterprise Board, Rahimuddin Haji Agha, voiced his pleasure over the agreement and said that circulation of reserves would play great role in economic growth and creation of jobs in the country.

He said that other banks must follow this initiative for further progress in the aspect.

The deputy chief executive of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), Khan Jan Alkozai, said that capacities are available in the country, but condition and red-tapism are major barriers. “Thus, it is required to get rid of obsolete bureaucratic principles and get advantage of the reserves,” he suggested.

He also complained of insecurity, lack of industrial parks and energy. Alkozai asked the government to take measures to resolve the problems.

The deputy chief of ACCI said that day by day illegal trading system is gaining strength due to open borders and other issues. The government had to support private sector and sign international agreements to strengthen the private sector, he insisted.

Special envoy to President Ashraf Ghani for reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Masoud said that scarcity of investment turned the country into a consumer market as currently Afghanistan’s imports volume is nearly $10 billion and export is only $500 million.

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