The gem and gold industries in Afghanistan are facing hurdles despite gold prices soaring in world markets, a jewelers' union said Saturday.
Gems and gold sales have decreased by 60 percent over the past five years, but the industry has dramatically worsened in the past three months, say the businesspeople.
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted businesses across the work because of lockdowns, in Afghanistan the government has also put major cities in lockdown over the past two months and this has caused businesses to struggle to stay afloat.
“The business has declined to 30 or 40 percent,” said Farid, a gold seller in Kabul.
“Our businesses were hit hard after coronavirus spread in Afghanistan, said Abdul Mubin, a gold seller in Kabul.
Jewelers said that the decline in the local markets has also accompanied a decline in imports of gold from other countries to Afghanistan.
“If there is political stability--if the people’s economy grows and they receive a good wage--then the people will take interest and then we can import gold. If the people’s economic well-being is not good, then imports will also decline,” said Zabiullah Habibi, head of the Kabul jewelers' union.