Afghan currency hits new low against the US dollar
Afghanistan’s national currency, the Afghani, lost significant value against the US dollar on Tuesday trading at a dismal 100 AFN to the dollar.
This was against Monday’s rate of 96.9 AFN to the dollar.
Da Afghanistan Bank, Afghanistan’s Central Bank, said in a statement that the stronger US dollar, as well as the high demand for dollars in Afghanistan, has caused the sharp drop in the value of the AFN.
The Bank in turn called on the public to only use Afghani’s in daily trade transactions in order to help stabilize the national currency.
Economists have said the drop in value of the AFN will directly impact the lives of Afghans, who are already struggling under a collapsing economy.
They said the weak Afghani will lead to an increase in the price of raw materials, fuel, and food supplies as most of these products are imported and paid for in US dollars.
Members of the public have meanwhile also raised concerns about the banking services in the country which have still not returned to normal following the collapse of the previous government.
Banking clients have for months been forced to queue for hours to draw money from banks – which sometimes run out of cash.
“It is too crowded; we came at 3am and already there were 200 people [waiting in line]… after three or four days of waiting you manage to withdraw money,” said Mawlana, a resident of Kabul.
Last month, the Central Bank eased restrictions on withdrawals, allowing people to withdraw up to $400 or 30,000 Afghanis a week and up to $1,200 or 100,000 Afghani per month.
Pakistan, Turkmenistan sign accord to implement TAPI project
Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed a joint implementation plan on Thursday to execute the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a delegation of Turkmenistan led by Minister of Energy and Water Resources in Islamabad, Dawn newspaper reported.
Pakistan’s State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik and Turkmenistan’s State Minister and Chairman of TurkmenGas, Maskat Babayev inked the accord.
The 1,800-kilometre pipeline is expected to carry 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas every year from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh — the world’s second-largest gas field — to the Indian city of Fazilka. It will pass through Herat and Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and Quetta and Multan in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan PM Shehbaz termed TAPI a very important project for the progress of the entire region, adding that it would help the region secure natural gas with concrete assurances and mutually agreed terms and conditions.
Highlighting the significance of energy for developing countries, he said: “We have to negotiate with this challenge through speedy action.”
Shehbaz expressed confidence that the TAPI project would lead to an era of regional cooperation, development, and prosperity. He asked the Pakistani team to expedite its planning and subsequently its execution.
He mentioned that in view of the global situation, energy had become a real challenge. “For a developing country like Pakistan, there is a need for speedy actions to explore the options for energy.”
Later, in a tweet, PM Shehbaz termed the TAPI Joint Implementation Plan “a step forward for the execution of the project”. He said the project was vital to meeting the country’s energy needs.
“Pakistan wants the project to be implemented at fastest speed. In view of costlier fuel prices and gas shortages globally, we are exploring all options to procure all forms of energy on a sustainable basis as part of a comprehensive national energy security plan,” the prime minister said.
He added that the completion of the TAPI project “will be a game-changer for the region in terms of enhanced economic cooperation.”
Minister of mines meets Chinese ambassador in Kabul
Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum Shahabuddin Delawar met with Chinese Ambassador Wang Yu in Kabul to discuss investment opportunities and Chinese projects.
A press release from the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said that during the meeting, the officials discussed investment opportunities, progress in the extraction in Kashkari oil field, and starting work on Mes Aynak copper mine.
Delawar called these projects important for the two countries and spoke about the social services that are included in the contract of the projects.
On the other hand, the Chinese ambassador expressed his satisfaction with his trip to the northern provinces including a visit to the Kashqari oil field, and provided information about the financial, administrative and technical plans of this project.
The Minister of Mines and Petroleum called for speeding up the implementation of the projects.
Islamic Development Bank pledges $8.1 million to help Afghanistan
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has signed cooperation agreements worth $8.1 million with six international humanitarian agencies to help the people of Afghanistan in various sectors.
The contracts are in the areas of food security, drinking water supply, health and in agriculture in different provinces of the country.
The Ministry of Finance in a statement welcomed the move.
“The Ministry of Finance welcomes this good action of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, the King Salman charity, the Saudi Fund and the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and expresses its gratitude and appreciation for their humanitarian and generous assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Finance called on all humanitarian aid organizations to design projects, taking into account the realities and priorities of the society and with the coordination of the ministry, so that the existing problems of the people are “completely solved.”
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