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Pakistan to allow India transit access to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid

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(Last Updated On: November 23, 2021)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced that Islamabad will allow the transit of 50,000 tonnes of wheat and winter shelters offered by India to Afghanistan.

This was among announcements by Khan after visiting the newly-established Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), along with Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and NSA Moeed Yousaf, where he chaired its first committee meeting.

Pakistan will also facilitate the return of Afghan patients who had gone to India for medical treatment and are stuck there, he announced, Tribune India reported.

Pakistan will also immediately ship in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs 5 billion, including 50,000 tonnes of wheat and winter shelters.

According to the Tribune India, Pakistani authorities have not however said whether Indian trucks will be allowed to travel to Afghanistan or whether they will have to offload the goods at the border and load the aid onto Pakistani or Afghan trucks.

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Iran hoping to establish trade hub in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 1, 2023)

Iran’s deputy minister of trade Mohammad Mousavi said Tuesday in a meeting that Tehran is considering setting up a trade center in Afghanistan in the near future.

According to Mehr News Agency, Mousavi expressed hope that the establishment of this center will strengthen ties between Kabul and Tehran.

He did not however say where the center would be situated.

Addressing the meeting, titled “Trade opportunities between Afghanistan and Iran” he said Tehran’s wanted to invest in Afghanistan and participate in the country’s “sustainable growth”.

At the same time, Afghan officials have said that the volume of imports from Iran, such as food and fuel, has totalled more than $1 billion so far this solar year (from April 2022).

According to the officials, Afghanistan’s export volume to Iran was much lower and totalled only $20 million.

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Afghanistan’s exports to India total almost $200 million in past 9 months

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(Last Updated On: January 31, 2023)

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) says over the past nine months, Afghanistan has exported goods to India worth $159 million, most of which was asafetida, saffron and pistachio nuts.

The MoIC officials said Tuesday they would try to expand economic relations between Kabul and New Delhi because India can become one of Afghanistan’s major economic partners.

“In the last nine months, our exports to India totalled $159 million,” said Abdul Salam Akhundzada, a spokesman for the MoIC.

According to MoIC’s officials, Afghanistan has imported goods worth $291 million from India in nine months, and the total trade volume is $450 million.

“The important goods we exported were pistachio, cumin, raisins, saffron and asafetida seeds, and we imported sugar, medical spices and various clothes from India,” said Akhundzada.

“And our imports from India totals $291 million.”

However, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) has said that there are currently problems with the export and import of goods from India but once these problems are solved, the trade volume will amount to $1 billion.

Meanwhile, the commodities are being transported from Afghanistan to India and vice versa via the air corridor, Wagah port in Pakistan and Bandar Abbas in Iran.

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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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