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Donors back $280 million transfer for Afghan food, health

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(Last Updated On: December 11, 2021)

Donors agreed on Friday to transfer $280 million from a frozen, trust fund to the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF to support nutrition and health in Afghanistan, the World Bank said as it seeks to help a country facing famine and economic collapse.

The World Bank-administered Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund will this year give $180 million to WFP to scale up food security and nutrition operations and $100 million to UNICEF to provide essential health services, the bank said in a statement, Reuters reported.

The money would aim to support food security and health programs in Afghanistan.

The United States and other donors cut off financial aid on which Afghanistan became dependent during 20 years of war and more than $9 billion of the country’s hard currency assets were frozen.

The United Nations is warning that nearly 23 million people – about 55% of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of famine as winter takes hold in the impoverished, landlocked country.

“This decision is the first step to repurpose funds in the ARTF portfolio to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan at this critical time,” the bank said, saying the agencies had presence on the ground to deliver services directly to Afghans in line “with their own policies and procedures.”

“These ARTF funds will enable UNICEF to provide 12.5 million people with basic and essential health services and vaccinate 1 million people, while WFP will be able to provide 2.7 million people with food assistance and nearly 840,000 mothers and children with nutrition assistance,” it added.

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World Bank report finds Afghan revenue collection strong

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

The World Bank on Wednesday published its latest report on Afghanistan’s economy and painted a slightly positive picture – stating that in the first nine months of the fiscal year 2022, exports were good, the exchange rate was stable and the Islamic Emirate’s revenue collection had been strong.

The World Bank stated that inflationary pressure in Afghanistan has eased since July of last year, decelerating by half to 9.1 % in November, while most basic food and non-food items are still widely available. The report stated the decline in inflation was due to lower global oil and food prices, along with a stable exchange rate.

The bank stated that Afghanistan exported $1.7 billion worth of goods during this time, an increase of approximately 90% compared to the full year 2021.

The report noted that January to June 2022 data shows the country imported $2.9 billion of goods.

In addition, the report stated that revenue collection had remained strong, reaching $1.54 billion between March and December 2022, in line with 2020 results.

A major chunk of the revenues came from taxes collected at borders and non-tax sources while a rise in coal mining royalties and fees were likely the drivers of the increase in revenue, the report found.

The report also noted that most government workers in Afghanistan have received salaries regularly and that their main problem was the lack of cash in banks when withdrawing their salaries.

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New labor minister promises to provide job opportunities to curb migration

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Abdul Manan Omari, the new minister of labor and social affairs, says the ministry will try to provide job opportunities for people inside the country so as to stop Afghans from seeking work outside the country.

In an introductory ceremony on Thursday in Kabul, the new minister said the ministry will also try to defend the rights of Afghans working in other countries, as well as create job opportunities in order to curb migration.

Meanwhile, Noorul Haq Anwar, the head of the Administrative Office, said at the event that the Islamic Emirate is a national system and is committed to providing balanced services throughout the country.

“The rights of all citizens will be addressed,” said Anwar.

According to him, many attempts have been made to weaken the country’s economy, but they have managed to control this.

He said they will not allow anyone “to lead the country to an economic crisis” and expressed hope that with the changes in the leadership of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, services will improve.

Currently, the country’s unemployment rate is estimated to be at above 90% as hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs following the withdrawal of foreign troops and the collapse of the former government.

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Uzbekistan to resume electricity exports to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2023)

Uzbekistan will resume electricity exports to Afghanistan from Wednesday after a 10 day stoppage.

Tashkent suspended supplies on January 14 due to the extreme cold, which led to a fuel shortage at their power plants.

The Ministry of Energy in Uzbekistan said that supplies to Afghanistan were temporarily stopped as a result of fuel shortages and various technical problems, as well as to ensure a stable energy supply to consumers in Uzbekistan.

The Ministry said it had warned the energy company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) about the situation.

Bakhtar news agency reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan on Tuesday assured the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan that within the next 24 hours, 250 megawatts of electricity will be provided to Afghanistan.

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