مسؤولان اتاق تجارت وصنایع روز دوشنبه گفته اند، درحالی که انتقالات بازرگانی افغانستان از راه بندر چابهار ایران آغازشده است، اما نبود امنیت لازم درمسیر شاهراه کابل -قندهار-نیمروز نگرانی هایی را برانگیخته است.
مسؤولان اتاق تجارت وصنایع افزوده اند که دولت باید برای تأمین امنیت این شاهراه به گونۀ جدی تلاش کند. مسؤولان این نهاد انتقال کالاهای بازرگانی را از راه بندرچابهاربه سود افغانستان می دانند.
مسؤولان اتاق تجارت وصنایع افغانستان با آن که انتقال کالاهای ترانزیتی و بازرگانی را ازراه بندرچابهارایران به علت نبود مشکلات ترانزیتی نسبت به بندرکراچی پاکستان برای بازرگانان خیلی کم هزینه تر می دانند، اما وجود نا امنی ها و آتش گرفتن کانتینرهای بازرگانی درکنارکاروان های ناتو درشاهراه کابل - کندهار - نیمروزنگران کننده می دانند.
رییس هیئت عامل اتاق تجارت و صنایع، محمد قربان حقجو گفته است: « بیشترین میوه ها تازه و خشک ازطریق بندرچابهارازولایت های شمال، شمال شرق و ولایت های مرکزی صادرمی شوند و به سوی نیمروزمی روند و ما شاهد آتش سوزی کاروان های تجارتی درکنارکاروان های ناتو هستیم که یک تشویش جدی است واین کار قیمت ها را افزایش میدهد، مصوونیت تضمین شده نیست و مشکل انتقالات را بیشترمی سازد و مواد انتقالاتی را با تأخیرروبرومی سازد و طول کشیدن درمسیرراه سبب خراب شدن مواد می شود و به بازرگانی آسیب می رسد.»
رییس هیئت عامل اتاق تجارت و صنایع گفته است که بندرچابهار به ولایت های جنوب و جنوب غرب افغانستان نزدیک است و با تکمیل شدن جاده حلقه یی، این بندر به ولایت های شمال و شمال شرق نیز نزدیک خواهد شد بنا براین هزینه انتقالات دراین مناطق کم میشود.
بربنیاد اطلاعات مسوولان اتاق تجارت و صنایع افغانستان ازبندرچابهارایران بیشترکالاهای سرمایه ای مانند ماشین آلات،موتر،مصالح ساختمانی،کودکیمیایی، مواد پلاستیکی ومواد مصرفی مانند مواد خوراکی وارد میشوند.
به گفتۀ مسؤولان اتاق تجارت و صنایع تا کنون میوه های خشک و تازه کشور ازراه بندرچابهار صادرشده است و تلاش ها برای صادرکردن قالین، سنگ های گرنبها،گیاهان دارویی و فراورده های دامی نیزجریان دارند.
Several economic and engineering experts on Sunday blamed the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) for doing haphazard work on the Kabul-Herat highway that resulted in the deterioration of a large segment of the road just months after its renovation. They urged the government to immediately restart the renovation work on the highway.
It was pointed out that millions of dollars have been spent on renovating the Kabul-Herat highway, yet not plans for maintenance have been made.
The Kabul-Herat highway is the biggest highway system in the country, stretching for 1,000 km. The highway was constructed six years ago, linking Kabul to southern Kandahar province and Kandahar to western Herat province.
The economists noted that highways in other countries do not need major repairs for over 20 years oftentimes. But in Afghanistan most of the highways become riddled with potholes and other damage within five years.
"I think most of our highways face the same problem, but this highway is very important for the country," said Nazir Ahmad Nejabi, a professor at the Kabul Polytechnic University. "If immediate steps are not taken, in the future the government will not able to reconstruct the highway."
Officials at the MoPW said that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) originally took responsibility for maintaining the highway after it was first built. But USAID recently handed over responsibility to the Ministry without it having the capacity to do so.
"Next year, we will have it in our plan and contract it out," said Najibullah Ozhan, the Minister of Public Works.
Last month, several truck drivers who commute on the Kabul-Herat highway staged demonstrations in Kabul city and went on strike in order to call attention to the lack of security on the highway. The truckers claimed they would be on strike until the government took swift action to make the highway safer to travel.
The strike represents the culmination of grievances expressed by both commuters and provincial officials in recent weeks regarding the deteriorating security situation facing stretches of the highway. The Kabul-Herat highway, particularly the area passing through Kandahar, has become the site of routine attacks by insurgents and Illegal Armed Groups (IAGs) against travellers, and most often oil tankers.
At a conference held on Saturday in Khost province, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) said that the infrastructural demands of the Khost were desperate and should be met as quickly as possible.
At the conference titled "Development Conference of Khost Province," restidents of Khost demanded that the government put more resources into infrastructural development and ensure that the Khost Airport construction is completed soon, along with several other projects.
The United Nations' office in Kabul and several other aid agencies responded to the statements made at the conference and promised to continue providing aid for development purposes in the province.
The IDLG also spoke about its achievements in the field of education, economy and other development programs in Khost. According to IDLG officials, since Khost shares its border with Pakistan there is ample opportunity to construct dams and improve agricultural and business ties with Pakistan.
However, the IDLG pointed out that a number of incomplete and pending projects are still a major challenge that need to be addressed.
"Construction of water dams, completion of airport projects, completion of infrastructural projects at the Ghulam Khan Port, access to improved agricultural techniques, protection of facilities and providing energy are some of the topics that were discussed in the conference," said Abdul Khaliq Farahi, the Director of the IDLG.
Several groups that participated in the conference said that Khost is at a strategic location that gives it great economic promise.
Asif Rahimi, the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, and Wais Ahmad Barmak, the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development were also present at the conference. They talked about agricultural reforms and ways to improve the living conditions of the Khost residents.
Khost is one of the eastern provinces of the country. The province has 10 official districts and 3 unofficial districts, with a population of around 1.1 million.
In response to the recent report highlighting supposed financial mismanagement within the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), William Hammink, Mission Director to Afghanistan for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said that there is no concrete evidence to prove financial aid has been misused.
Although he was clear in stating that USAID would be continuing to help the MoPH with funding, he also was careful to show appreciation for SIGAR and the work it does.
"We welcome the role of the Inspector General because that is an important part of what we do to make sure that our programs are successful. As much as we feel confident that our programs are being successful, we always welcome an independent view to make sure that in effect we are achieving our goals," Mr. Hammink said.
"In the case of Afghanistan and in the case of Iraq, because the programs have been very large and because there has been so much funding not only from the USAID but also from the State Department, the Special Inspector General was created," he explained.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Yamashita, the head of the USAID Afghanistan, emphasized the fact that their programmes with Public Health have been successful and that there has been no financial malfeasance.
"I am fully satisfied and convinced that there has been no misuse whatsoever of our resources and the programs truly have been successful," Dr. Yamashita said.
Last week, MoPH officials refuted the charges lodged in the report and said that all aid money has been utilized in a transparent manner.
Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health, called SIGAR's report "baseless" and said that there are major gaps in their findings. The Minister challenged SIGAR to prove the accusations it made of corruption and mismanagement.
The SIGAR report advised USAID to withhold all future funding for the MoPH on the basis of there being high chances of misuse given its past observations. The report mentioned that defective accounting and corruption were key issues inside the Ministry.
In response to the report's allegations, the MoPH assured that the Ministry and its employees are ready to provide all necessary information regarding past utilisation of funds. However, it would appear USAID does not intend to pursue any out of the ordinary verification measures, at least not publically.
The Ministry of Mines (MoM) on Sunday said that the delay in Parliament's approval of the New Law on Mines was hampering the Afghan economy by keeping interested foreign investors from injecting capital and producing employment opportunities in the mining sector.
MoM officials said that the draft of the Law on Mines was sent to the National Assembly for approval two months ago, but remains held up.
"The approval of the New Law on Mines is the only way we can attract more foreign investors to Afghanistan and they are worried about the approval of this law," said Mohammad Rafi Rafiq Sediqi, spokesperson of the MoM.
"Several companies have expressed interest in investing in the mining sector. But due to delay in the New Law on Mines approval, they have not been able to start their work," said Mohammad Ibrahim Shams, the deputy head of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA).
Several economic experts warned that if the law is not approved at all, Afghanistan would surely miss out on major investments that have been discussed for tapping its promising mineral deposits.
"The delay in approving the Law on Mines will have an adverse effect on economic progress in Afghanistan," said Azrakhsh Hafizi, the head of the International Relations Committee at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).
Meanwhile, the Administrative Board of the Lower House said that the Law would be on the agenda in the near future.
"We are holding a meeting[...]to prepare the agenda for the coming week. We hope that all Laws are put on the priority list. We will try to include the New Law on Mines as well for its approval," said Sayed Ikram, the Secretary of the Lower House.
Economic experts have said that opening up the mining sector to foreign investments should be made a priority, but in this case, it appears the legislative process has trumped business stratagem.