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Absence of specific law marred CRS in Afghanistan

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) in a report released on Tuesday said that lack of special strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was the main factor, where companies still running away of social responsibilities in the country.

AICS with the support of USAID and Counterpart International have released the first ever report titled “State of Corporate Social Responsibility in Afghanistan,” which covered different companies and individuals in Kabul, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Herat and Balkh provinces.

According to the report, each company and all private sectors have different relevant responsibilities regarding staffing, environment protection and society development—an issue which is implementing at very low level in Afghanistan. The report discussed challenges and outgoing ways in the aspect.

Board Member of AICS, Mohammad Ehsan Zia during releasing of the report, said that launch of this report is aimed to boost up private sector social responsibility in order to lead the country toward development.

According to him; “partnership between government and private sectors are vital, we can rely over donation forever.”

To further elaborate reports finding, Researcher Rafaat Ludin said all companies and in whole private sectors have different social responsibilities besides doing business in the country. He said that private sectors must perform its responsibilities regrind, staffs, environment and the society.

Government must have motivation policies to boost up CSR among private sector, he added.

He said that finding of this report showed that despite lack of specific law and regulation for CSR, some companies are practicing social responsibilities, but with another name like charity programs.

Although, some telecommunication companies, banks and scores of big companies have some chartable programs, which can be deemed part of CSR, but it need to be managed in a better manner, he added.

He insisted that lack of specific law for CRS is the main reason that has negatively impact in the aspect.

He clarified that 50 percent of the factories covered through the report believed to charitable programs and 30 percent companies believed to follow CSR through marketing. In responding 35 percent factories asked for compulsory running of CSR in private sector, he noted.

While, considering implementation of CSR a good step, 85 percent of public people said that we will put on prior purchasing of commodities from those companies following CSR, he said, referring to report’s finding.

Mr. Ludin emphasized that specific law and regulation is required to specify and categorize that which company follow and which not. He said the government must have a policy to ask the private sectors during contract of projects to strictly follow CSR in order to protect, environment, society and support staffs.

It is essential to the government approve regulations and punish those companies which during doing business cause many negative effects in environment and for residential and not obey the CSR, he asserted.

Law and regulation must approve in coordination with the private sectors and other related segments in order to have good outcome in future, he said. He said that government must have motivation programs to reduce corporate social irresponsibility among private sectors. Programs to increase awareness among people about CSR are very important, he mentioned.

Acting Ministry of Mine and Petroleum, Nargis Nehan said developing of private sectors is the top agenda for them in a bid to lead the country toward self-reliance.

She said despite challenges in some law and regulation, the ministry had adopted steps in implementing CRS particularly in aspect of mines. “There are some CSR programs, which are following by the ministry during contract with the companies.”

Criticizing government, Deputy Head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Khanjan Alkozai said still law and regulations are not implementing properly in the country. “Compulsory CSR in such condition will be another option for corrupted people to take bribe.”

“We have law of consumer, in which no company has the right to import law quality goods, foods, medicine which negatively impact over health and economic of people,” he said, adding, but due to corruption enough low quality goods and foods are coming in.

He said that insecurity is another challenge for traders and they spend enough money for their protection. While, on behalf of private sectors coming to follow CSR through different programs as much as possible, he asked for strict implementation of law and regulation across the country.

Terming lack of infrastructure, corruption and security as main challenge ahead of private sectors, Mr. Alkozai termed it a joint effort by government, private sectors, and the people to discharge their responsibilities in regards to achieve prosperous society.

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