The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Islamic Emirate at a glance

Summary of the most significant accomplishments of the
Islamic Emirate 2022 – 2023

By: Hashmat Nasiri

Part XII

  1. Execution of cash and non-cash trans actions Managing liquidity at both central and provincial levels is a complex endeavor; however, due to the diligent efforts and effective management of Da Afghanistan Bank, in conjunction with relevant institutions, the financial requirements of central and provincial entities have been successfully addressed. Over the past year, notable strides have been taken in the printing of new banknotes. Through ensuring liquidity availability nationwide, there has been a heightened promotion of the Afghan currency compared to the past. Furthermore, surplus banknotes from private commercial banks have been seamlessly transferred to the treasury of Da Afghanistan Bank. D. Enhancement of payment systems and information technology Da Afghanistan Bank upholds a strong belief in information technology and is committed to advancing technological systems. As per available data, the volume of electronic payments has exceeded 12 billion Afghanis and over 90 million US dollars. Moreover, several electronic money institutions have been integrated into the Afghanistan payment system, facilitating essential infrastructure for the expansion of digital services and products offered by Da Afghanistan Bank. Additionally, the ICPSS/ACSS systems, previously suspended by contracted companies following political upheaval in the country, have been reinstated. 1. Increase in commercial goods transfer Sustained collaboration between Afghanistan Railway Authority and ports, recruitment of skilled professionals, and systematic oversight by governing officials have precipitated a remarkable upsurge in commercial goods transfers compared to the preceding fiscal year. Notably, the cumulative volume of commercial goods transfers across all Afghan railway routes surged to 4.5 million metric tons during the past year, representing a substantial 25% escalation over the previous period’s total of 3.4 million metric tons. A. Commencement of commercial goods transfers via the Khawaf-Herat railway segment The formal inauguration of commercial goods transfers between Afghanistan and Iran through the Khawaf-Herat railway in July 2023, catalyzed an augmentation in such transactions, yielding heightened revenues and fostering employment opportunities for local citizens. B. 70% Discount on the Commercial Goods Transfer Agreement for the HairatanMazar-e-Sharif Railway Project The contractual arrangement for commercial capital transfers associated with the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway project, executed 12 years ago with Sogdiana Trans of Uzbekistan, and witnessed a paradigm shift. In contrast to the prior annual disbursements ranging from $18 to $32 million, the recent renegotiation under the current Islamic Emirate regime resulted in a significantly reduced payment of $3.7 million. Furthermore, the contractual shift entailed the transfer of railway management responsibilities to the Afghanistan Railway Authority, with the contracting entity now exclusively providing requisite services. C. Acquisition of the inaugural railway conveyance (Drezine) In a momentous milestone spanning a century, the Afghanistan Railway Authority procured a Drezine—a specialized rail transport vehicle— from Iran. This acquisition is instrumental in railway maintenance, infrastructure monitoring, and logistical support for technical personnel within the KhawafHerat railway project. Leveraging this railway conveyance ensures cost-efficient operations and upholds stringent quality standards in railway upkeep. D. Afghan trans project The Afghan Trans initiative, a collaborative endeavor linking neighboring nations and interconnecting Central Asian territories with South Asian counterparts via Afghanistan, stands as a pivotal infrastructure undertaking. Its inaugural phase, launched during the incumbent Islamic Emirate’s tenure, has seen robust progress. Technical teams from Afghan, Uzbek, and Pakistani railway authorities have diligently commenced preliminary groundwork within Afghan territory, culminating in successful milestones. Additionally, a joint office established in Tashkent over the past year further bolsters project management efficacy, with the inception of supplementary offices in Kabul and Islamabad poised to streamline operational efficiencies.
  2. 2. Enhanced Afghanistan’s exports In pursuit of heightened exports and transit facilitation, market regulation, trade balance optimization, and proactive trade diplomacy have been calibrated to regional standards. Deliberations with neighboring nations and extending beyond, encompassing Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, China, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, have yielded a notable surge in Afghanistan’s export volume, nearing approximately $2 billion. The upswing in transit via Afghanistan from Central Asian territories to South Asia, reactivation of commercial attaché offices, resolution of Afghan traders’ challenges in neighboring realms, seamless coordination, and bolstering of bilateral collaborations in commercial and transit goods transfers, operationalization of a consolidated hub for export documentation across national zones, and strategic prioritization of swift customs processing for Afghanistan’s export goods stand as pivotal accomplishments in Afghanistan’s commercial landscape. These endeavors have fostered heightened trade engagements between Afghanistan and its contiguous as well as regional counterparts.
  3. 3. Growth in the industrial sector The ascendancy of the domestic industrial sector stands as a paramount directive for the Islamic Emirate, underscored by the reduction of industrialists’ surplus profits from 4% to 2% and a 7% exemption from pertinent industrial levies, aimed at fostering and fortifying the national industrial fabric. Moreover, a campaign promoting domestic product utilization has been enacted, complemented by protective import tariffs on raw materials and machinery. Consequently, the heightened emphasis on industrial expansion has heralded the establishment of 50 novel factories in the past fiscal year, with 80% of extant factories resuming operations.
  4. 4. Enhancement of agriculture and livestock for economic growth The development of agriculture and animal husbandry for economic growth has been a focus of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan due to its agricultural nature and the fact that the majority of its people earn a living through these means. The Ministry of Agriculture of the country has paid specia attention in recent years to the growth, development, and mechanization of agriculture and animal husbandry, as well as the conservation and development of natural resources, water management from source to farm, and the regulation of land affairs in Afghanistan. The achievements in this sector over the past year can be summarized as follows: A. Support for farmers In order to promote agriculture and livestock growth, for the first time, Islamic finance through agency services and profit-sharing has been provided by the Agriculture Development Fund of the Ministry of Agriculture to farmers, livestock breeders, and the private sector. Out of the approved budget of 750 million Afghanis for this fund, approximately 470 million Afghanis have been disbursed in the past year to 158 companies, cooperatives, associations, and 2,300 farmers. Additionally, the distribution of about 25,000 metric tons of improved wheat and chemical fertilizers for farmers has been carried out in collaboration with domestic and foreign institutions, along with combating plant pests and diseases to prevent losses in agricultural production and orchards in northern provinces. Other achievements in this sector include:

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.