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Conference on support to local industries held

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) organized a daylong conference in Kabul to address grievances of the local industrialists.

The conference titled “Afghan National Industries Support Conference Opportunities Challenges and Solution” was attended by representatives of the governmental and nongovernmental organizations and traders. They discussed challenges and outgoing ways.

Minster of Commerce and Industries, Humayon Rasa, said that industries are the main pillar of a system in the country, but in Afghanistan local products face many challenges.

Speaking at press conference here, he termed lack of land, energy, transport facility, financial and human resources main problems faced by the local industries.

He said that Afghanistan imports goods worth $8.2 billion annually while the country’s export is only $500 million. Investment has shrunken, giving way to increased unemployment.

The minister said that in order to cope with the challenges faced by the local industries, the MoCI has drafted a strategy which would be implemented after including views of artisans. He further said that local products would be preferred over foreign goods by the government in bidding process. “The strategy will help in removing the hurdles in front of the local industries. It will help us to develop,” he said.

Chief of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), Qurban Haqjo, said that due to lack of facilities, investment is flowing out of the country.

He said that different organizations are interfering to address commercial disputes. He suggested that the problems must be resolved by a single body.

Chief Executive Officer of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), Khanjan Alkozai, said that investors had shown interest to invest in the country but the government failed to provide them required facilities.

He said that land grabbing by influential people has become an established practice, but craftsmen don’t have land to run their business. Corruption and red-tapism were the other challenges pointed out by Alkozai.

The ACCI’s chief said that they don’t need “support on papers” but real support of the government. Afghanistan has turned into a consumer country and a good market for the neighboring states to sell low quality goods. The government should support domestic products, he suggested, adding that capacities and potentials are available in the country, but there is need for the government’s support to encourage the local industries.

Afghan businessmen have complained repeatedly about inattention of the relevant authorities towards local industries. They say that if the government wants to stop the capital flight, it should introduce new laws and provide facilities to the investors.

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