The National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) on Tuesday released the annual statistics of Afghanistan’s exports and imports volume, stating that the export volume of the country for 1398 fiscal year (Persian calendar starting 21 March) is reportedly around $863 million, down from 875 million, which is a $12 million reduction compared to the previous year.
However, the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries recently claimed that Afghanistan’s exports were more than $1 billion in 1398, as opposed to the NSIA's report of $863 million.
“The balance of the trade deficit was recorded at around 87.3 percent, which shows some improvement compared to last year,” said Haseeb Mawahid, deputy head of NSIA, referring to the NSIA's percentage of the exports and imports of the country in 1398.
Afghanistan’s exports have decreased by 1.7 percent during the fiscal year of (1398) 2019 while imports volume decreased by 8.5 percent during this period, added Mawahid when asked about the actual percentage of imports and exports volumes.
Based on the NSIA statistics, the Afghan imports volume has dropped one billion dollars from $7.4 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion in 1398 (2019).
The main items imported by Afghanistan are fuels, flour, wheat, textiles, and electronics.
“We should utilize foreign goods in a very positive way and in line with our national interests. We should also focus on our trade balance,” said Amir Hamza Saleemi, an economist in Kabul.
“The contrast that we saw recently (contrast in the exports and import reporting) likely came in the wake of some confusion,” said Bashir Ahmad Bashardost, head of the export promotion bureau of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
“There is no improvement when it comes to the issue of using the statistics, it is getting worse each day,” said Fazel Ahmad Joya, a university lecturer, referring to the contradictory remarks by the govt officials about export statistics.