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Ministry of Finance says draft budget for next fiscal years has been drawn up

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(Last Updated On: December 29, 2021)

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) said the draft budget for the next fiscal year has been prepared and will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval within the next week.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for the ministry, said the entire budget is dependent on domestic revenue income and not on foreign aid.

Haqmal said he expected the Council of Ministers to approve the draft budget by the end of the current month and submit it to the relevant agencies for implementation.

Haqmal added: “The draft budget is ready in the ministry and its work is almost done.”

“This is the first budget of the Afghan government in the last 20 years, which is not dependent on foreign aid and we have built it all on the basis of our domestic revenue. The Ministry of Finance is done with its work and after that it will go to the Council of Ministers for approval and after approval we will proceed according to our budget in the next financial year,” said Haqmal.

Haqmal said that there is no problem in covering the operating budget which is funded by the generation of domestic revenue, but there are some problems with the development budget. He said limited, but important, development projects have been included in this budget.

Haqmal said that if domestic revenue rises in the first half of the year, the budget will be adjusted and more development projects will be included.

He added: “We have no problem with the operating budget and the operating budget is made up from our domestic revenue, but we have also considered development projects for next year, which will be fewer than last year …As our revenue increases, other development projects will also be included in it. ”

But economists say the budget is not just about meeting the costs of ministries, but also about implementing development projects across the country and providing services to the people.

In previous years, Afghanistan’s budget for each fiscal year was estimated at 4.5 billion afghanis, up to 40 percent of which was earmarked for development projects, at that time, the entire budget would have been based on foreign aid and the deficit would have been higher than the discretionary budget.

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IEA urge Afghan businessmen, investors abroad to return home

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and his delegation met with a number of Afghan businessmen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of them returning home.

According to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Baradar told the Afghan businessmen: “Whatever you are interested in investing in the country, the Islamic Emirate is fully committed to providing opportunities for you.”

At the meeting, Mullah Baradar told the businessmen and investors, it is the IEA’s responsibility to provide a safe space for investors and businessmen and ask them to help rebuild the country.

“It is our responsibility to create a safe space for you and your businesses and to rebuild this country together.

“Fortunately, with the coming of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, corruption has been eradicated,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs also thanked all those countries that host Afghans.

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Cotton factories ‘owed’ $30 million by Pakistan: Kandahar Chamber

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Owners of cotton processing factories in Kandahar said this week that Pakistan is holding back about $30 million dollars owed to the sector in a bid to put them out of business.

According to Sayed Sarwar Amani, the head of the Kandahar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, due to restrictions on banking, Pakistan has failed to pay about $30 million owed to factories in the province.

“Our banking system is defective, we have problems, the banking remittances are closed, especially Pakistan is using this unfairly, it means that a lot of money from our cotton sector which is about $30 million is blocked in Pakistan.

“I can say that they are not paying us the money of 24 factories by referral nor through the banking system nor by TT (telegraphic transfer),” Amani said.

There are 24 cotton processing factories in Kandahar which processed approximately 400,000 tons of cotton last year.

However, due to the challenges faced by the sector, this has dropped to only about 200,000 tons this year.

Chamber officials said Pakistan is trying to create problems for the owners of these factories in order to put them out of business.

Factory owners meanwhile said that a shortage of electricity to their industrial parks was also a major challenge.

Yar Mohammad Rahmani, the owner of one cotton factory, said: “Our main problem is electricity, before the coming of the Islamic Emirate we used to have generators here with 10-Megawatt electricity but we don’t have that now; now we are using solar power and (electricity generated from) Kajaki Dam,” he said adding that factories in the industrial plant got electricity only on alternate days.

Power “is provided one day to the north side of the park and one day to the south, I can say that electricity is our main problem,” he said.

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Afghanistan looking to get oil, gas from Russia; hoping to send dry fruits to Moscow

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has shown interest in buying oil and gas from Russia and continuing work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

Pakistan’s Business Standard reported that this comes after Russian energy giants like Gazprom have been hit by sanctions from the Western countries.

However, Jamal Nasir Garwal, the IEA’s charge d’affaires in Moscow, has reaffirmed Afghanistan’s ambition of developing the energy partnership with Russia.

“Yes, we are negotiating in the sphere of business and finance. We are determined and very much want to develop economic cooperation with Russia so that there is progress in relations.

“As for specific areas, we are interested in purchasing fuel and gas, these are the most important areas at the moment, what our country needs in the first place,” said Garwal in an interview with Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

The Afghan charge d’affaires said the IEA government is relying on Russia to restore the infrastructure, build buildings, roads and other necessary facilities because it had helped Afghanistan in the past.

The negotiations, he said, are currently underway through the Ministries of Trade of Russia and Afghanistan as Kabul remains “determined” to sign specific agreements soon, Business Standard reported.

“We also want our dried fruits and other agricultural products to be delivered to Russia, we are interested in developing this direction. While we have not determined the specific details, but we are negotiating for the future. At the same time, we are not talking about some kind of barter,” Garwal said.

He also said the top leadership in Kabul remains keen to continue the work on the TAPI project, which has already seen more lows than highs since the first TAPI summit held in Ashgabat in December 2010.

With a total length of nearly 1814 km — 214 km of which falls in Turkmenistan, 774 km through Afghanistan, and 826 km in the territory of Pakistan before reaching Fazilka in India’s Punjab — the mega gas pipeline project would connect Turkmenistan, one of the largest energy suppliers in the world, with the South Asian countries.

“Negotiations are underway so that our cooperation within the framework of the project continues… Most importantly, we are very pleased with the security situation: the threats that were before are gone,” said Garwal.

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