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Traders’ access to financial services agreement signed

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) on Sunday signed an agreement with Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) and Afghan Rural Finance Company (ARFC) to boost up traders accessibility to financial services in the country.

Director General of EPAA, Najla Habibyar, said that lack of access to soft loans was major hurdle before the traders that hampered export promotion and industrial development. She said the agreement would enable the Afghan entrepreneurs to access soft loan facilities and promote export of local products.

As per the agreement inked with the AIB, businessmen will have the opportunity to get long-term loan up to $7 million with two percent lower interest rate than the market. ARFC provide loans for improvement of agriculture products—from farm to markets.

She said that after following a procedure of the EPAA the traders would be introduced to the two loan providers. “Afghanistan’s export marked 33 percent increase last year. So, such programs will help us to increase exports to 50 percent this year,” said Najla Habibyar, adding that they would work over standardization and quality improvement of the products to compete in the international markets.

ARFC’s Chief Executive Officer Hashmat Seyar Amarkhail said that his organization’s objective is to develop agriculture and industrial sectors in Afghanistan.

He said that ARFC provide loans as per rules of the Islamic banking.

Amarkhail added that ARFC would grant $10,000-100,000 to women and $100,000-500,000 to businessmen. Besides providing loan, the ARFC also impart trainings to businessmen in different fields.

It is pertained to mention that often traders expressed concern over lack of loan facility, energy shortage, and poor infrastructure.

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