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Brussels summit

Afghanistan-Economy

To deliver on the promises given to the international community, the Afghan government established the high council of economy. The council is chaired by the president. Mandate of the council is to trace and resolve problems that are preventing the national economy from growth. In its monthly meeting, the economic council discusses different challenges faced by the national economy. As Afghanistan has free market-based economy system, therefore, most of the discussions are related to private sector improvement. The Presidential Palace describes the council as a specialized body which formulates policies to increase interaction between the government and private sector. As per the Presidential Place statements, the policies are guided to create employment opportunities in the country, attract investment in different sectors, support the private sector and initiate mega economic projects.

The government is under crippling pressure. The pressure will increase with every passing day because it is preparing for the Brussels summit to convince the donor countries that its policies are yielding good results. The summit will take place in Belgium in October. It is difficult to see change within one month. The government has no achievement to satisfy the questions of the donors and their curiosity. Situation on the ground remains unchanged, even worse. The struggling national economy cannot meet government expenditures, let alone jobs creation and improvement in the lives of common people. The upcoming Brussels summit will be a test for the Afghan leadership.

There is no denying that private sector is doing no good and the international community is well-aware of that. Ask the businessmen and investors and they would give you a lengthy list containing minute details of their problems. The private sector cannot grow in absence of comprehensive and business friendly mercantile laws. In addition to that the investors are afraid of investing the country because insecurity has grown rapidly. Businessmen are afraid for their lives. Abduction and killing of traders and their family members have increased. Besides that corruption is rampant and the government has no control on natural resources in eastern, northern and southern provinces. The militants are cashing gold and lapis lazuli mines. Influential people are grabbing public lands.

Investment needs an environment that the government has not provided. In the coming weeks the relevant ministries would give statements to assure the international community that the Afghan government has initiated several steps to encourage investment and support the private sector. However, these vows and efforts will only remain on papers. There is another test that the authorities have to pass before the Brussels summit—providing shelter, jobs and basic healthcare facilities to the returnees. Repatriation of thousands of Afghans on weekly basis will not only test the nerves of the state machinery and official claims but also the struggling national economy.

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