The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

IEA urged to support industrialists & manufacturing companies

Afghan industrialists ask for the support of the government while the Afghan shoemaking industry is facing the risk of collapse. According to them, the excessive import of shoes from China, Pakistan, and Turkey has affected the Afghan shoe market, and production machinery has stagnated their activity. Shoemaking in Afghanistan has a history of about one hundred years. About 2,500 shoemaking shops were operating in Kabul nearly two decades ago, but their number now reaches 300. In the past, “Ahowi Shoe” and “General Shoe of Afghanistan had a good reputation in the region. Some shoe manufacturers say that the shoes produced in the Aho Shoe factory were also exported to other countries. According to them, nearly 300 shoemaking factories in the country have currently stopped their activity. Kabul shoemaker’s union said that due to economic challenges and inattention of the institutions responsible for the shoemaking industry, these factories have stopped their activity. “Unfortunately, Afghanistan imports shoes from Pakistan and China with low quality and price and, it is very difficult for us to compete against them,” said Mohammad Asif Jami, head of the shoemakers’ union in Kabul. According to him, we can compete with other countries if we have the government’s support because the boot and shoes produced in the country have better quality than the Chinese products that are imported to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a number of shoemakers say that the lack of raw materials in the country is one of the reasons for the stagnation of the shoemaking market. Mustafa, who has been involved in this industry for thirty years, said that even though highquality national shoes are produced, there is no appropriate market for this domestic product inside the country. “In the past, our work was good, we had daily production, produced new fashion boots and shoes, and had more buyers. But unfortunately, we are facing a shortage of customers and materials for our factory in recent years. Therefore, this factory is about to stop its production. If these factories are completely closed, it is clear that the workers who work in these factories or similar ones will face economic challenges” said Mustafa, who is engaged in making and producing shoes in a small shop with a number of other shoemakers. The factory owner said that he fired a number of his workers due to economic reasons. Despite all these problems, he asked the government, especially the chambers of commerce and investment, to address their problems. “Our raw materials are imported from abroad. If they are produced in our own country, then we will have no problem and the prices of our shoes will be cheaper for our customers.” He further said. “The government is witnessing that thousands of young people leave the country every day due to unemployment and they go abroad for work. These young people accept the risk as they prefer it to unemployment, and therefore, they immigrate to other countries. So, in order to immigrate to work abroad, the government should create job opportunities for us.” Said Obeidullah, a shoemaker. “Factories should resume their production here, people should be provided with opportunities and raw materials should be produced inside the country so that we can progress.” He said. On the other hand, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce assures that the ministry is trying to grow industries in the country. Abdul Salam Javad, the spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, said that I have to express that shoemakers must improve the quality of their industry in order to have good marketing. If they face problems with importing raw materials from abroad, they shall contact the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Currently, 300 shoe manufacturing factories are operating across the country. According to the information provided by Shoemakers’ Union, Afghanistan has the capacity to produce 20 million shoes per year, but it only produces three to four million shoes. Shukria Kohistani

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.