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MPs warn of serious development budget embezzlement

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(Last Updated On: April 5, 2021)

Members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) warned on Monday that millions of dollars earmarked for development projects in Afghanistan could be embezzled and sent out of the country by officials after the ministry of finance ordered that all development projects be put on hold.

The minister said however that it has called for projects to be prioritized as its dealing with a budget deficit.

“The Finance Ministry has told all other ministries that no projects can be implemented without the approval of the (finance) ministry,” said MP Makhdom Abdullah Mohammadi. He also said the signature of the Acting Finance Minister carries no weight.

Parliament approved the budget for the new fiscal year, 1400, in February following tension between government and the Wolesi Jirga over the document.

The estimated budget for the current year is over 473 billion AFN (nearly $6 billion), including 311 billion AFN ($4 billion) for the regular budget and 162 billion AFN ($2 billion) for the development budget.

Some MPs said money is already being embezzled.

“A clear looting [of government revenue] is underway; the budget is being looted before the eyes of millions of people,” MP Ghulam Husain Naseri said.

Another MP, Allah Gul Mujahed, meanwhile, stated: “We passed the year 1400 budget but projects for the year 1399 (2020) have been postponed to the year 1400 and the Acting Minister of Finance has told the Ministry of Public Works to stop working on development projects. They may want to transfer money [outside Afghanistan].”

The Ministry of Finance, however, stated that the organization has faced a budget deficit.

“We have faced a deficit in the budget; therefore, an official letter has been issued [to the ministries] to create a financial discipline and prioritize national projects and effectively use the national budget,” said Rafi Tabe head of Finance Ministry’s media office.

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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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