The Central Bank of Afghanistan (CBA) on Sunday raised concerns about the increase in US dollars being smuggled into neighboring countries, especially Iran, from Afghanistan and warned that this could further impact the value of the Afghani against the dollar.
In the past week, the value of the Afghani has fluctuated against the dollar – from a low of 78AFs to 73AFs against the USD.
This has raised concerns among the people, businessmen and traders. CBA officials said the problem has been exacerbated by the rate of smuggling of the currency out of Afghanistan.
CBA chairman Khalil Sediq said the tensions between Iran and US is one reason for dollars being smuggled to Iran but that it has resulted in a devaluation of the Afghani.
“(Dollars) are being transited from Mazar-e-Sharif via Hairatan port to Uzbekistan, Dubai and gulf countries and there the money is deposited into bank accounts of some people, or the money is being given to those people in cash. People smuggle currency to anywhere where there is a high demand and some benefit for the smuggler,” said Sediq.
While experts and officials say the new sanctions by US against Tehran is the main reason for dollars leaving Afghanistan, the findings of a survey by an organization show that for every dollar transferred to Herat, someone is making at least one Afghani profit.
Based on the findings, if a person transfers $10,000 USD from Herat to Iran’s Mashhad city, the transfer costs will be $1,100.
Meanwhile, Najibullah Kabuli, chairman of the Hezb-i-Musharikat Milli, on Sunday said at a press conference in Kabul that government should put a stop to the smuggling of dollars to Iran.
“When you go to a shop, first they ask for Toman (Iranian currency) and then Afghani. If you go to a shop in Jalalabad, the shopkeeper first asks for Pakistani Rupees and then Afghanis. Millions of dollars is being smuggled to Iran daily, why do you (government) not stop it? Why do you not cooperate with the CBA and security forces in this regard?” asked Kabuli.
Sources meanwhile told TOLOnews that money smugglers use residents in the borders areas between Afghanistan and Iran to transfer dollars from Herat to Mashhad city.
According to the sources, based on the law, a person has the right to take $10,000 across the border, but sometimes a person takes as much as $100,000 at once.
A number of MPs also told TOLOnews that US sanctions on Iran has resulted in Tehran dropping regulations around bringing US dollars into the country.
“Following the sanctions on Iran, Tehran has changed its money policy and has made dollar importation free while in the past there were some rules,” MP Khalilullah Shahidzada said.
“Smuggling (dollars) will put pressure on our people and I think it is the job of government to find a way to stop it,” MP Najia Babakarkhail said.
Security departments and departments fighting corruption meanwhile said if people and businessmen use banking services instead to transfer money, it will be easy to stop illegal businesses and stop money smuggling.
According to them, currently most people use the services of money exchangers to transfer money and sometimes transfer money in cash which has made it difficult to fight corruption and money smuggling.