ADB suspends TAPI project until IEA gains international recognition
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has confirmed that work on the trans-nations Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project has been suspended until the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government has gained international recognition.
In response to an email sent to the ADB by Ariana News, an official confirmed that the project has been put on hold.
He said the ADB “has paused all its TAPI project due diligence and processing activities until further notice.”
According to the ADB, while the international community continues to assess the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the bank has decided to hold off on its assistance in Afghanistan. The official said the ADB however continues to consult with its shareholders and other stakeholders to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.
The $10 billion TAPI project to transport Turkmen natural gas through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India is one of the largest economic projects to date in the region.
“Some time ago, the Pakistani Minister of Economy said that we have a security problem and we cannot complete this project, and they have a problem with the fact that they want to eliminate India, but India will not be eliminated by Turkmenistan, which in fact is India’s last TAPI station, ” said Sayed Massoud an economic analyst.
IEA officials meanwhile said about two weeks ago that they had met with the TAPI project chief executive and the Turkmen ambassador to Kabul to discuss the project.
“The TAPI project is so important that it will change not only Afghanistan but also the region’s economy, and its first implication for Afghanistan is that it gives Afghanistan an international value.
“Second, common economic provisions create security and increase economic cooperation,” said Shirbaz Kaminzada, the President of the Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines.
The TAPI project stretches for about 1,800 km and will transport about 33 billion cubic meters of Turkmen natural gas annually through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
Afghanistan’s exports total $2 billion for last solar year
The deputy minister of trade and industry said on Tuesday at a press conference that Afghanistan’s exports totaled $2 billion for the past solar year.
Presenting his financial report for the 1401 solar year, Mawlavi Qadratullah Jamal said: “For the first time, Afghanistan’s exports have reached about two billion dollars, which shows an increase of 135 percent compared to [solar year] 1400 and 166 percent compared to 1399.”
According to the deputy minister, the recent actions of the Islamic Emirate’s administrations on improving the trade balance, maintaining monetary stability, creating work opportunities and providing transparency in revenue collection are among the reasons for the growth in Afghanistan’s trade and export revenue.
“During the last year, with a total value of $925.5 million, coal, cotton, hemp, pomegranate, raisins, figs, grapes, Roman eggplant, black pine nuts and onions to Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Kazakhstan have been exported,” Jamal said.
Officials add that in order to standardize and increase the country’s exports, the ministry plans to establish export processing centers in five zones around the country.
Officials have also said that the necessary facilities have been provided for importing goods and that the private sector can import their goods without any problems.
The deputy minister added that in order to strengthen trade, facilitate exports and imports and expand cooperation between countries, necessary arrangements have been made with neighboring countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
The officials of the ministry say that in terms of development and improvement of the industry in Afghanistan, fundamental steps have been taken, which includes growth in 50 sectors – including the iron smelting and skewer production sector, the spice sector, the soft drink production sector, the carpet sector and the printing sector.
According to the ministry, there are 51 industrial parks in the country, of which 14 industrial parks have been kept active during the last year, and efforts are underway to attract investment and reactivate all industrial parks.
According to the officials, in terms of attracting domestic and foreign investments, by providing the necessary facilities, the barriers to the investors have been removed.
Recently, a service center was established at the Kabul airport, and so far, 100 investors have received visas through this center. In addition, the ministry has created a legal and regulatory framework so that domestic and foreign investors can invest in the country with full confidence.
Also, the complex and time-consuming processes have been modified and now the private sector and entrepreneurs can receive, renew or cancel their licenses in the shortest possible time, officials said.
According to the ministry, during the last year, 5,100 licenses were distributed, 7,228 licenses were renewed and 333 licenses were canceled and 7,000 business passports were also distributed.
According to officials, during the year 1401, the amount of 341.6 million afghanis was allocated to this ministry and the amount of 15.5 million afghanis was allocated to this ministry, of which 83.3 percent of this amount was used.
Also, in 1401, a total amount of 704.48 million afghanis was collected, which shows a 43.37 percent increase compared to last year.
Five countries eager to invest in lithium mines in Nuristan: officials
The Islamic Emirate officials say five countries are interested in investing in the “lithium” mining sector in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.
Mohammad Yunus Rashid, the deputy of youth in the Ministry of Information and Culture, said that Japan, the US, China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries that are interested in investing in the mining sector of lithium mines in Nuristan province.
“There is a lot of interest in lithium mining at the global level, five countries have made contact with the Islamic Emirate and said that they are ready to invest in this sector,” said Rashid.
According to officials, there are high capacities for economic self-sufficiency in the country and positive changes will be made in the economic development of the country in the near future.
Economic experts meanwhile believe that if the extraction and processing of the country’s minerals are done in Afghanistan, the country can get out of the economic crisis very quickly.
“There are trillions of dollars of capacity in Afghanistan’s mines, which should be invested, the statistics should be accurate, the regions should be determined, in which areas we have what kind of mines,” said Kamaluddin Kakar, an economic expert.
In addition, members of the private sector say they are trying to invest jointly and individually with foreign investors in the mining sector. They call on the Islamic Emirate to hand over mining contracts to companies that have the ability to process in the country.
Customs duties on essential food items drops by up to 70%
The Ministry of Finance said that based on the decision of the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, customs duties on basic food items have dropped by between 50 and 70 percent in the last solar year.
As a result of this decision customs duties have been reduced to the value of 6.7 million afghanis this year, the ministry said.
The decision to decrease customs duties on the food items that include flour, wheat, cooking oil, rice, and sugar, was to keep the prices down on local markets.
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