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IEA’s finances in much better shape: The Economist

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(Last Updated On: June 11, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) finances appear to be in much better shape than expected, The Economist magazine said in an article published Wednesday.

The British media outlet said that when the IEA seized power, it seemed obvious that they would struggle to administer a country of 40 million, especially for lack of money.

“Yet the new government’s finances appear to be in much better shape than anybody expected,” the report read.

Last month IEA announced its first full-year budget, forecasting revenues of $2.1bn.

The World Bank’s estimate is more modest but still impressive: it reckons the government will collect about $1.7bn this year (about 12% of GDP) in domestic revenue, from things like taxes, customs and fees for services.

That is nearly three-quarters of the $2.3bn the previous government raised domestically in 2020, before business and trade dried up and many taxpaying Afghans left the country.

The previous government’s total funding including foreign finance came to $5.7 billion, but IEA do not have access to the grants and loans that made up the rest.

The Economist said that the IEA managing to keep revenue flowing despite the obstacle is “remarkable.” One reason for their success is that they have plenty of experience collecting taxes, it noted.

Moreover, a handful of holdovers from the former government are maintaining sophisticated financial-management software to run their revenue-collection systems.

IEA has also cracked down on graft, a serious problem under the previous government, The Economist noted.

IEA’s Ministry of Finance welcomed the report, saying the government was seeking to make Afghanistan self-reliant.

“IEA members together with former professionals are working in a brotherhood atmosphere and with it transparency has come and revenues have increased. We have stopped corruption that unimaginably existed in the ministry of finance,” said Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman of the Finance Ministry.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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Taiwan announces $1 million for Afghan earthquake relief efforts

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Taiwan will donate $1 million to Afghan earthquake relief efforts in response to a call from the United Nations and others for humanitarian assistance, the government said late on Thursday.

Taiwan’s presidential office said in a statement that the government would donate “based on the spirit of humanitarian care for disaster relief regardless of national borders (and) responding to the United Nations and other humanitarian calls,” Reuters reported.

However Taiwan will not send search and rescue teams after consulting with other countries and considering the difficulty of transportation, office spokesman Xavier Chang added.

Taiwan also lies in a quake-prone zone and regularly sends rescue teams to other disaster areas around the world.

China meanwhile has said it stands ready to provide Afghanistan aid, and on Friday its foreign ministry said that it is “stepping up efforts” to collect cash, tents, bed quilts and other humanitarian aid to deliver to Afghanistan as soon as possible, but did not offer details of the size of the aid package.

Around 1,000 people are already confirmed dead from the quake in a remote part of the country this week.

Earlier, the European Union announced 1 million euros for the earthquake relief efforts in Afghanistan.

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