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Private sector faces variety of challenges: AISA

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Asking the government for proactive state policies carried out in collaboration with private sector, the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) on Saturday said that private sector was facing a variety of challenges in the country.

The private sector includes such services as education, health, agriculture, mines extraction, factories, construction, telecommunication and information technology, banking, energy supply, transportation and women enterprises.

Speaking at a press conference, the chief of AISA told reporters that after an evaluation about investments situation in the country, the agency found that 11 private sector services face serious challenges that had slowed the national economic growth rate.

Mohammad Qurban Haqjo said that around two weeks ago AISA held a joint session about investments in Afghanistan. Delegates representing the 11 private sector services noted that they were going through hardship and needed support of the government on emergency basis.

Haqjo said that in the previous joint session at least 12 major challenges were identified by AISA. “These are the major problems which harm the investment and trade environment in the country.”

Growing insecurity, kidnapping and killing of businessmen, lack of a particular economical strategy, noncooperation between government and the private sector, concerns of investors over political and economic situation and existence of corruption and embezzlements in the governmental organizations were the major challenges that were pointed out by Haqjo, as discussed in the joint session.

“Corruption in the custom and tax departments as well as in the municipalities is a serious obstacle for our businessmen. They are suffering a lot from this,” he mentioned.

He counted inaccessibility of businessmen to required infrastructures, complication in tax payment, issuance of trade license by irresponsible organizations, and complicated justice system as other main challenges in front of investors in the country.

AISA urged the government to improve coordination among the government institutes; draft comprehensive economic policy in cooperation with private sector to support investment; improve security situation; promote insurance culture; bring fundamental reforms in the judiciary; and fight corruption.

Responding to a query, Haqjo claimed that since 2011 the investment rate has been dropped gradually. AISA had recorded investment of around $860 million in 2014 and $590 million in 2015 which show 30 percent decrease.

Earlier, AISA said the amount of investment was decreased by 26% in the first nine months of 2015 compare to the first nine months of 2014. In the first nine months of 2014, $611 million was invested; however, in the first nine months of 2015, $448 million was invested.

The amount of investment in the construction field decreased by $83 million in the first nine months of 2015 compare to $200 million in 2014, which shows a decrease of 58%. Moreover, investment in the fields of industry, agriculture and services was also decreased by 25, 12 and 9.63 percent accordingly, the report noted.

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