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Pakistan repeats call for release of Afghan assets

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(Last Updated On: August 20, 2022)

Pakistan on Friday once again called on the United States to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets and conditionally allow the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to use the funds to assist both economic and humanitarian crises in the country.

Asim Iftikhar, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, said at a press conference, that the frozen assets held in the US should be released urgently and “in a manner that would make it easier for the interim authorities to utilize this money.”

This comes after US officials said last week they had no plans to release Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, citing concerns the funds could end up in the hands of terrorists after the leader of al-Qaeda was killed in Kabul.

President Joe Biden’s administration froze $7 billion after the IEA took power last year. Earlier this year, Biden issued an order to split the money equally between the families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks and humanitarian aid for Afghans.

Iftikhar said that the release of Afghan assets “shouldn’t be done without strings attached.” He also noted that the US had provided a lot of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan over the past year.

Referring to the recent visit to Pakistan by US CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla, and other bilateral engagements, Iftikhar said that in addition to his country’s bilateral agenda, the two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

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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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