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Afghanistan’s central bank gets shipment of new banknotes

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(Last Updated On: November 10, 2022)

A Polish firm delivered Afghani banknotes to Kabul this week after the United States paved the way for the Da Afghanistan Bank to make a payment via international banking systems, a member of the bank’s supreme council told Reuters on Wednesday.

The payment represents a shift for Afghanistan’s central bank, which has been largely cut off from the international financial system since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) came into power last year.

State news outlet Bakhtar also reported that the shipment arrived on Wednesday.

The Afghan central bank held a contract with a Polish company for the printing of its banknotes but had been unable until early July to begin payment, Reuters reported.

Without access to fresh banknotes for more than a year, Afghanistan’s cash has been deteriorating, with notes torn in shreds or held together with sellotape, exacerbating the country’s liquidity crisis.

“Afghanistan’s markets run primarily on cash, but existing banknotes are crumbling …The Central Bank will be able to replace old and damaged banknotes, and this will improve the Afghan people’s ability to purchase food and other necessary items,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson said.

Shah Mehrabi, a member of the Afghan central bank’s supreme council, said assurances to banks and companies by the U.S. Treasury that they would not be prosecuted for allowing a transaction by Afghanistan’s central bank had been instrumental.

“These transactions that were facilitated by the Treasury are welcomed by all Afghans,” Mehrabi said.

He said the banknotes began arriving on Tuesday. The contract was for notes valued at 10 billion Afghanis, mostly in small denominations. A second contract with a French company had been reached for a similar value.

A spokesperson for Afghanistan’s finance ministry told Reuters that new banknotes would be used solely by the central bank for replacing old notes, not to fund the budget.

Mehrabi said that the bank would release its financial statements to ensure the cash was accounted for.

He said the bank had agreed to be subject to third party monitoring and the U.S. Treasury had approved of an agency to carry out the monitoring.

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Acting commerce minister meets Russian deputy PM

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2024)

Nooruddin Azizi, Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce, met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk to discuss trade and investment, it was announced on Friday.

Sergey Pavlov, General Director of Russian Railways, and Dmitry Zverev, Deputy Minister of Transport of Russia, were also present in the meeting, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said in a statement.

According to the statement, the two sides discussed increasing the volume of trade, preferential tariff for Afghan goods, Russian investment in mines and water dams in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan’s role in the International North–South Transport Corridor.

They also discussed about reducing the cost of transportation through the Russian railway, removing the export tax on basic materials, arranging the trip of the delegation to the ports of Astrakhan and Makhachkala, and holding a trade connectivity conference and an expo of Afghan products in Moscow.

Azizi met with the Russian deputy PM on the sidelines of the Kazan Forum – the 15th International Economic Forum of Russia and the Islamic World.

He also met with representatives of a number of Tatarstan and Russia companies and encouraged them to invest in Afghanistan.

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Azizi meets with head of Tatarstan on sidelines of Kazan Forum

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2024)

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said Thursday acting minister Nooruddin Azizi met with the leader of Russia’s autonomous republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Nurgaliyevich Minnikhanov, on the sidelines of a meeting in Kazan.

According to the ministry, Azizi met with Minnikhanov on the sidelines of the Kazan Forum – the 15th International Economic Forum of Russia and the Islamic World.

The two officials discussed bilateral trade relations, the establishment of the Russian Trade House in Afghanistan, the visit of Minnikhanov to Kabul, investment in electricity production, water transfer, mining, cultural and economic cooperation and other matters.

This annual meeting is held by Russia and the 14th round of this meeting was also held in the same country last year.

The main goal of the forum is to strengthen trade and economic, scientific and technical, social and cultural ties between Russian regions and the countries of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as to promote the development of the Islamic financial system institutions in Russia.

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Afghanistan’s imports and exports totaled $10.3 billion last year

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(Last Updated On: May 15, 2024)

The National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) said on Wednesday that last year, the value of exports totaled $1.79 billion while imports totaled $8.57 billion.

According to NSIA, fruits accounted for the largest share of export items last year, totaling over $645 million.

Medicinal plants, minerals and vegetables were the next top three items respectively to be exported.

Meanwhile, petroleum and oil accounted for the largest portion of imported goods, totaling over $1.37 billion.

Another large portion of the total amount imported went to machinery, vehicles and parts. This totaled over $1.15 billion, followed by textiles, metals and metal products.

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