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Govt’s unconcern, impediments by neighbors irk local industrialists

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Domestic investors said that impediments created by neighboring states in investment and unconcern of Afghan government are some of the main factors for the stunted development of domestic products.

A number of local industrialists who attended a three day exhibition held last week in Kabul in a local hotel alleged the government for not provide the imperative support from domestic products. Usually whenever there are products exhibitions the number of local products being displaced is relatively very small, said a participants of the exhibition.

Turkish, Iranian, Pakistani were displayed at the expo whereas local products were sparse. Edibles , construction materials , electric tools , cosmetics , washing products , furniture , dry fruits , juice , local dairy, handicrafts , jewelry and  painting colors  were the main items displayed in the expo. “The government has been vowing to improve domestic products, yet despite that the exhibition had only a few local products while there were outnumbering foreign products, which speaks volumes of how the promises have been translated into realities”, said a participant. An egg supplier, Jawed Sayyad, said that the public stood by local investors and picked local products over exotic goods in the recent months, but the government didn’t take any interest in local products.

Zabiullah Safi an apiculturist in Nangarhar who attended the exhibition said that the neighboring countries do not let the domestic products to be improved by creating troubles in market access.

“Honey producers from the neighboring countries damage the Afghan honey market with temporarily bringing down their rates in the market while they pile up the money canes back in stores and when they see that Afghan producers have sold out their products, all of sudden they raise the rates,” he said. He also said since buyers usually take their buying capacity and run after low prices therefore they pick Pakistani honey over Afghan honey as local honey is sold for 250 Afghanis per 500 gram whereas the same quantity of Pakistani honey is available relatively with low prices, though they are no match in quality to local honey.

“To protect the downfall of local honey, the government must increase tariff and custom duties on exotic honey,” said Safi. He said that if government supports apiculture sector, the prices of local honey could fall to such a level where consumers will buy local honey with love. He called on the government to bring eases in taxation and electricity tariffs per unit for Afghan industrialists.

They pay monthly 15,000 Afghanis as per kilowatt for 10 Afghanis, he added.

Infection of the Afghani bee from Pakistani bee was another challenges as mentioned Safi adding the Afghani bee get infectious and dieses when join to the Pakistan bees.  Therefore the government should establish artificial forests for apiculture sector prevent going to Pakistan, said Safi.

Marketing officer ofMashal Dairy Production Company Kefayatullah Safi said that he has produced dairy different kinds of yogurt and milk since last four years, but the citizens no one is familiar with his productions. And the citizens are not aware of the domestic productions, and think his productions as Iranian productions, because the government had not supported the domestic productions in last 14 years. And foreign productions replaced to the national items, he said.

Only these kinds of exhibitions can improve his business while the government does not facilitate the required support, added Safi.His products cost high rate as he is charged 60,000 Afghanis to 90,000 per month as electricity charge, he said adding even the   city traffic daily charges him at least 500 Afghanis.

Safi expressed his satisfaction from his business said that these exhibitions can play key role in his marketing. And Mashal Dairy Company which has invested one million US dollars has branches in    15 provinceshas good market since has been known as domestic products, he said.

Muhammad Nawab head of Benazir Saffron Company (BSC) said that Iran tries to damage Afghani saffron with   importing of its low quality saffron to Afghanistan.

And also export Afghani saffron to Europe with Iranian labelmark, he said adding added therefore the government must try to prevent import of Iranian saffron to Afghanistan.

Packing of saffron was one his challenge mentioned Nawab they packs their products with Iranian packing, he said.

President of Afghan Protein CompanySayed Habib Rasuli called disinterest of the government as the man factors for lack of develop of the domestic products added that none of the state high ranking officials came to the exhibition.

The ministries of the economy, commercial and industry, the ministry of agriculture livestock and irrigation as the main relevant organizations did not attend in the exhibition to encourage the investors and producers, he said.

Also import of external goods to the country is a big challenges in front of the monistic products added Rasuli said  that duty custom of the imported goods must be increased for developing of the local productions.

Also lack of Islamic loans is part of the problems in front of the domestic products added that none of the credits issued by the private banks is Islamic.

Kidnaping of the investors is also part of the problems as mentioned Rasuli said that many of the investors fled from Herat that it must be prevented.

Naqeebullah one of businessmen said that the investors seek nothing else except their security and removing bureaucracy   and corruption from the state organizations. And they are forced to pay bribes during their duty taxes payment, he said.

And the investors are eager to develop local productions if they are really supported, he said adding they need land and exemption from duty taxes of raw materials.

General Manager of Kabul Green Exhibition Management Company said that this was the first national and international exhibitionwhich attended 72 companies that put 45 percent of the external and 55 percent national products on show.

Products of Iran, Turkey, Pakistani, and German beside Afghani products were the major products put on show, he said.

Minister of Finance  Eklil Hakemi said that a in a long discussion with investors , traders and local producers as well as the relevant organizations a structure has been drafted to pave the ground for developing of the domestic products.

The scheme which is going to be implemented in future has taken the products and imports balance in order to remove needs and also pave the ground for the local products, he said.

Meanwhile deputy of Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Khan Jan Alikozai in a brief interview with Afghanistan Times said that he has not any information over the scheme drafted by the Ministry of Finance and investors said that increasing  the duty  taxes of the imported  materials  cannot be a  supportive to the local products. And instead the basic instruments including low price energy, free cots of land, exemption of taxes for ten years must be provided to the local productions in order to create proper competition with exported materials, he added. The raw materials duty tax is only one percent that is not a heavy tax, but it is better to exempt the local producers from duty tax for ten years, he emphasized. But there are some materials including sugar, PVC, colors and chemical materials used as raw and productive materials with one percent tax, he said.

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