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Local industry needs govt’s patronage

Afghanistan’s Industrial Association (AIA) laments that government’s inattention has caused a heavy blow to factories across the country. The association says that local factories are in worst conditions as there is no strong will of the government to stem the tide of exotic products. Since foreign products have flooded our markets, none give a damn to local products, which kills the spirit and production capacity of local industries. We are experiencing a consumption trend since long, which is why we don’t have biggest and flourishing industries. We were a consumer society and we will ever be until we learn how to rely on our own local products and factories. If the world’s tallest building could be in Dubai why cannot Afghanistan build at least factories that could address the consumption needs of its citizens? If the world’s biggest factory in the world could be in China, why cannot Afghanistan at least rely on its own local resources? And if the world’s largest oil refinery could be in India then at least why Afghanistan cannot emancipate its own citizens from the grip of international and regional products (to the minimum if not maximum). But alas nothing has been happening except receiving billions of dollars and stashing them back into foreign accounts. In the globalizing society consumers cannot fully resist foreign products, but those nations who rely on their own products have attained development in almost all walks of life. And the credit goes to their giant economies. As we are a consumer society therefore our government should start working from now to at least encouraging local products over exotic ones as by this way we will learn how improve our national economy through reforms. Until we receive international aid and doesn’t kill crave for foreign products none could prevent the decline of our local factories. The presidential election standoff, drawdown of foreign forces, unfriendly policies of our neighboring countries, lack of government’s will for the development of domestic factories are some of the factors that led to the closure of about 1,000 factories. Should domestic factories die with this rate and we will be extremely dependent on foreign products which will finally push us into servility. For an economy built to last we the people and our government should invest in what will fuel us for generations to come and it is prioritizing growth and investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Investing in foreign real estate and oil companies may serve the interests of just a few families, but it will never serve our national economy. Copying economic designs of our neighboring countries, where governments provide industries with up to 25 percent subsidy. Our government should devise such economic policies that are much friendly towards domestic industries so that they could produce quality goods to help us reduce our reliance on foreign products. Unlike foreign countries, here we have a work force which is available at low wages and the products will be cost effective, but it’s worth lamenting that there is no longer plan in sight that’s aimed at utilizing domestic work force. Growth (the expansion of material and energy consumption) is there but development (qualitative improvement of human well-being) is nowhere in sight. In order to improve our national economy, the government should stress local self-reliance, equitable distribution and environmental sustainability. Reliance on local productive resources (human and natural) not only reduces the need for long-distance transportation, but simultaneously encourages more efficient use of resources and also it makes people to identify ways to substitute local products for imports and the benefits of supporting local economy through wise selection—investment, consumption and production.

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