Officials from the Afghan Chamber of Mines and Investments on Wednesday said that 60 to 80 of the businesses run by the country’s private sector have been significantly affected due to the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
They said that alongside COVID-19, there are other factors causing problems such as corruption in the government institutions, and the failure of the Afghan government to engage in talks with neighboring countries to review trade policies that are hurting Afghan businesses.
The officials called on the Afghan government to facilitate economic activity by addressing the needs of the business community and of investors, such as electricity, loans and allotment of land in the industrial townships.
“60 to 80 percent of businesses were impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the private sector spent hard time,” said Rahimullah Samandar, the CEO of Afghan Chamber of Mines and Investment.
Representatives of the private sector meanwhile accused the Afghan government of neglecting to support the country’s domestic production and the private sector firms.
They said that the private sector is planning to implement a one-year program that is aimed at encouraging the public to use domestic products.
“The scale of corruption has become very large, corruption ranges from ordinary government servants to high level officials and the lawmakers,” said Sherbaz Kaminzada, an economic expert.
“We have major potential and opportunities for investment,” said Sayam Pesarlai, the head of Sayam Business Firm.
“We should join hands and work together, our cotton is better than others’ silk,” said Farid Ahmad Mawlavizada, the deputy head of Federation of Chambers of Afghanistan.
According to businesspeople, the rise of corruption at customs has also led to a 50 percent of the goods through illegal routes and the issue has had a major impacts on domestic production and sales.