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Finance Ministry reports lost revenue of $285m

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KABUL: Financial implications of the COVID-19 outbreak have been stark and overwhelming for Afghanistan as the Ministry of Finance estimates the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in lost revenue of around $285 million in Q2 of 2020.

Acting Minister of Finance, AbdulHadi Arghandiwal, has told VOA that custom revenues still continue to be embezzled. He pledged an unswerving graft-busting campaign to eradicate corruption in customs.

He said that financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 continued in the second quarter of 2020, with the country’s revenues declining by $285 million year-over-year.

The revelation on revenue slump comes days after Afghanistan National Security Council barred 68 staffs of the Ministry of Finance from leaving the country on suspicion of corruption and embezzlement. The list is long and includes three deputy ministers, ministry’s secretary and tens of heads of department, and several chiefs of provincial customs.

UNAMA has also published a report about administrative corruption that is threatening to bedevil peace efforts in Afghanistan, urging the leaders to treat graft differently and prioritize it in their agendas.

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