The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) said that it has signed a provisional deal with Russia to import more than 2.5 million tons of oil and gas as well as two tons of wheat annually to Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that the imports of oil and gas will help to reduce prices in the country.
“We are trying to immediately import it to Afghanistan via railway or trucks before the winter to prevent the rise in prices in the winter,” said Abdul Salam Javad, a spokesman for the MoCI.
Reuters reported that the Russia's energy and agriculture ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the agreement. The office of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who is in charge of oil and gas, also did not immediately respond, according to Reuters.
“The impact of this contract is good and positive on our market because Russian prices are lower than the international price,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI.
But some taxi drivers in Kabul said that the price of oil is high and that they are facing challenges.
“Last year, the price of the oil was 60 Afs and now we pay 82 Afs. When we drive even just one direction, the one liter of oil is finished. We do not make good profits,” said Mohammad Zubair Ahmadi, a taxi driver.
“We earn 300 to 400 Afs. I can’t even earn the money to buy my medicine. When the family asks about my work, I make excuses,” said Faqeer Mohammad, a taxi driver.
The Islamic Emirate has been negotiating with Russia and Iran for more than a year to reach a deal for imports of commodities as Afghanistan is currently gripped with severe economic challenges.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Nooruddin Azizi, told Reuters that his ministry was working to diversify its trading partners and that Russia had offered the Islamic Emirate administration a discount on average global commodity prices.