Afghanistan accuses Uzbekistan of violating Hairatan port deal
Officials of the Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) accuse Uzbekistan Railways of violating the new agreement regarding the technical affairs of the rail link between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif.
ARA’s head Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharaft, in an interview with Ariana News, said that Uzbekistan Railways had agreed that 16 Uzbeks be employed for the management of the rail link, but now it is insisting on employing 65 people.
He said that based on the agreement, Uzbekistan should have handed over the technical affairs to a Kazakh company on February 1, however,, Uzbekistan Railways suspended international freight shipment via Hairatan port.
“The only problem is that we had agreed on 16 technical employees, but they have sent a one-sided contract that mentions 65 employees instead of 16 employees, and the salary of each one is 6,000 dollars. This is a huge amount of money and we cannot afford it,” Sharafat said.
The official emphasized that efforts are underway to solve the problem, and a delegation from Afghanistan is ready to travel to Uzbekistan for this purpose.
He also said that efforts are ongoing for the implementation of trans-Afghan railwy project. Although the implementation of this project by foreign engineers is estimated at around 4.8 billion dollars, but the head of the railway administration emphasizes that the project can be implemented at a cost of 2.8 billion dollars.
“We can do anything,” he said. “There is will, there is transparency, there is commitment of leadership.”
Recently, the Afghanistan Railway Administration signed a two-year contract with Kazakhstan on the Haritaan port, according to which Kazakh employees will carry out technical work in this port.
The Hiraitan Railway stretches 75 km from Hiraitan Port to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, through which commercial goods from China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are transported to Afghanistan.
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.
Kunduz commerce department’s revenues rise by 48%
Kunduz Directorate of Industry and Commerce officials say their revenues have increased by 48 percent this solar year.
According to officials, the institution has collected more than 12 million Afghanis from the extension and distribution of licenses to manufacturing companies.
Mohammad Rahim Sirat, head of Kunduz Directorate of Industry and Commerce, said they distributed licenses to 112 people and renewed the licenses for 303 people.
Meanwhile, Kunduz Municipality officials also announced that they have collected 120 million Afghanis in 11 months of the current solar year, which shows a 40 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Tajuddin Sohak, the spokesman for Kunduz Municipality, said they collected 120 million Afghanis this year, which shows a 40 percent increase from 86 million afghanis last year.
But shopkeepers and owners of manufacturing companies in Kunduz complain about the lack of a market for their products. They say that in the past their goods used to be exported abroad, but now exports have declined.
“In the past, we used to export to Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq, but our exports have decreased compared to the past. We ask the government to cooperate with us to provide the basis for export,” Wasim Akram, an entrepreneur, said.
Local officials in Kunduz say they have always tried to facilitate trade. They express hope that in the new year their efforts for foreign marketing of manufacturing companies will produce good results.
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