The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghanistan; considerable & positive progress in past one year

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Afghanistan has made considerable and positive progress in almost all areas in the past one year. World Bank in its most recent report has highlighted a range of Afghanistan’s positive progress. The bank has been closely monitoring the evolving economic situation in Afghanistan and has been regularly producing economic monitoring reports. The World Bank Afghanistan Economic Monitor in its report published on 31 July 2023 provided a summary of the latest economic developments and key economic indicators. Drawing from a range of data sources, including realtime data collection by the World Bank’s Third-Party Monitoring Agent, the Economic Monitor provided upto-date information on trends in prices, exchange rates, availability of key household items, and the operations of financial sector institutions and others. Based on the report, for the past two months, the year-onyear inflation has been negative. The supply of goods has been sufficient, but demand is low. Over 50 percent of Afghan households struggle to maintain their livelihoods and consumption. The year-on-year headline inflation is now at negative 2.83 percent as of May 2023— primarily driven by a year-onyear decline of 5.85 percent in food inflation. This overall decrease can partly be attributed to the base effect, which saw domestic inflation spike in H1- 2022 due to a global commodity price shock and supply-side disruption. However, international commodity prices have eased in H1-2023, and a strong Afghani (AFN) has helped to lower domestic prices, particularly for food and fuel, according to the World Bank report. The report states that au thorities have significantly reduced import tariffs on key food imports in March 2023, and favorable weather conditions have improved food production, contributing to this positive trend. The report also pointed to the continued gain of the Afghani (AFN) against foreign currencies, particularly the U.S. dollar. According to the report, the Afghani (AFN) has appreciated against major currencies during Jan – July 2023, despite the widening of the merchandise trade deficit in 2023. “Between the end of December 2022 and July 24, 2023, the AFN gained against major trading currencies. During this time frame, the AFN appreciated in value by 41.2 percent against the Iranian toman, 19.5 percent against the Pakistani rupee, 3.9 percent against the US dollar, 3.3 percent against the Chinese yuan, and 0.5 percent against the Indian rupee. However, it depreciated by 0.1 percent against the Euro. On July 24, 2023, the AFN exchange rate against the US dollar was 85.8—a 0.4% appreciation compared to its value on August 15, 2021,” the report said. Besides, the World Bank Afghanistan Economic Monitor in its report said that the central bank of Afghanistan has increased the maximum amount that customers can withdraw from their individual deposits made before August 2021, meaning that customers can now withdraw up to AFN 50K per week. Although there has been some increase compared to April 2023, overall withdrawals are still lower than the legal limit. Additionally, since May 2023, the monthly withdrawal limit for companies has been raised to AFN 4.0 million. Another key progress that has been made in the country is the increase in job opportunities. The World Bank report says from March 2023, there has been an increase in job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers, following a seasonal drop during the winter months. The availability of work for both categories has been better during May and June 2023 compared to the same months in 2022. Afghanistan has been also good in the collection of revenue in the past few months. According to the World Bank report, revenue collection for the first four months of fiscal year 2023 has been healthy, totaling AFN 63 billion, which is a 16 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. It says that the primary reason for this growth is border taxes such as Customs Duties and Business Receipt tax, which saw a 23 percent increase compared to the first four months of the fiscal year 2022. The country has made also considerable progress in exports. In its report, the World Bank says Afghanistan’s total exports from Jan-May 2023 rose by 9 percent to reach US$ 0.73 billion, with coal exports being the main contributor. The report added that the trade deficit for Jan-May 2023 widened to US$ 2.4 billion. The most recent report of the World Bank shows that Afghanistan is moving forward despite all challenges facing the country. Samiullah Momand

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.