Kandahar businesses may move to Pak, Iran

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Factory owners are seeking to move their business operations to Iran or Pakistan, Kandahar’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

“Some have the intention to go to the neighboring countries. In addition to electricity, there are other problems that are affecting the private sector,” said Niamatullah Niamat, deputy of the Kandahar chamber.

The joint Afghanistan-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce said that Islamabad is considering issuing a five-year visa for Afghan businesspeople.

“There is a five-year visa for investors who want to invest in Pakistan,” said Naqibullah Sapai, head of the joint chamber.

Economists warned that the transfer of Afghan business investment to foreign countries is not in the interest of Afghanistan.

“In fact, Pakistan wants to extend its control and take control of Afghan trade and markets and open a way to Central Asia,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.

A factory owner who invested $3.5 million was forced to halt his business operations due to a lack of electricity.

“We are lost about what to do and which direction to follow. Nothing happened during the past 20 years,” said Mohammad Naeem, owner of the factory.

To prevent the tranfer of investment from Afghanistan to neighboring countries, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Islamic Emirate must provide essential facilities for the businesspeople.

“We don’t want other countries to give licenses to our merchants. We want our businesspeople to remain in the country, but the Islamic Emirate should provide essential facilities,’ said Mohammad Younus, head of the chamber.

Younus said that many Afghan investors moved their businesses abroad mainly to Turkey and the UAE.

Meanwhile, Officials at the chamber of industry and mines said that more than 100 factories have halted their operations due to economic challenges within past two months in the western province of Herat.

Officials said that economic challenges, shortage of raw materials and lack of proper sale market are the main reasons for reduction in operations of Herat industrial companies.

Local officials in Herat said that they have increased tariffs on imported goods to layout a good market for domestic products.

Experts warned that if the problems laid ahead of the investors and business owners were not solved immediately, an economic crisis would come into effect.

The private sector in Herat said that reduction of corruption in customs and ensuring of proper security on highways triggered a new wave of hope among investors to continue their businesses.—Agencies

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