For the government’s “self-reliance strategy,” which is commonly known as “The Afghanistan Self-Reliance Accelerator Package,” the Afghan government plans to apply for billion-dollar loans from international institutions in the coming years.
According to the Afghan government, The Afghanistan Self-Reliance Accelerator Package (ASAP) is a “framework to assist prioritization and phasing of investment.”
“The projects are grounded in, and are entirely consistent with, the self-reliance agenda, as outlined in the Afghan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), National Priority Programs (NPPs), Afghanistan’s National Infrastructure Plan and the principles and objectives of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all of which remain the main frameworks for the country,” reads an excerpt from the ASAP proposal.
Critics say there is not enough capacity within the government to undertake the management of the loans.
“The first phase of ASAP is comprised of an $8.64 billion USD investment package across three key sectors to help accelerate the process of achieving economic self-reliance. The package will be funded by both GoIRA and private sector investment. The GoIRA funding component will consist of a combination of concessional and non-conessional loans (from private sector lenders),” reads the document.
The Afghan government has said that it plans to invest the money in a number of key areas such as agriculture, power generation and housing.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament have raised deep concerns over the reports that the Afghan government was planning to apply for $8 billion loans for the country’s development projects.
“It means that we are selling the future of our sons and grandsons. By adopting this work, we will put the ropes of financial slavery on our necks,” said Ramazan Bashardost, a member of parliament.
“We assure you that whenever this plan is sent to the parliament, we will reject it in consideration of the fragile situations for loans,” said Abdul Zahir Salangi, a member of parliament.
“The conditions for loans are not suitable in terms of security, and from some other perspectives, because we need to invest these loans on those projects which generate money,” said economist Haseebullah Mawhid.
Recently sources told TOLOnews that on the sidelines of the World Bank’s annual meetings in Washington, Afghan Minister of Finance Humayoun Qayoumi reportedly asked for loans worth billions of dollars from several global financial institutions while promoting Afghanistan’s “Self-Reliance Accelerator Package.”
Qayoumi reportedly asked for an $8 billion loan.
Lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament at the time reacted to the move with dismay, saying the decision to apply for an $8 billion loan raises concerns since there is no clarity about which projects the money is intended for.
Lawmakers said there are fears of embezzlement in view of the ongoing corruption allegations plaguing government institutions.