KABUL: President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with a head and members of Afghansitan Craftsmen and Shopkeepers Chamber via a video conference and heard their problems and demands, according to a statement from the presidential palace.
Representing others, head of the chamber Mohammad Hassan Sepahi thanked president’s attention towards craftsmen, saying they have close cooperation and coordination with municipalities and government organs in fight against COVID-19.
Referring to the vulnerability of craftsmen and shopkeepers due to recent incidents, Sepahi said that businesses in the country were facing many problems due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the recent quarantine of producers. He cited labor costs, tax payments, workers’ wages and the possibility of spoilage of food during quarantine period as the major challenges.
He also suggested that the tax for the first six months of this year be reduced by 50 percent and that the fines be pardoned, asking government to help unemployed workers as well as pardon their rents of properties to calm the virus-spooked market, the statement added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Yousef Ghazanfar, the President’s special representative for Economic Development, Trade and Poverty Reduction, said that all chambers and traders have called for tax cuts and exemptions during the quarantine periods, and that efforts are underway to reach a conclusion in this regard, according to the statement.\
Expressing gratitude for the suggestions of the Chamber of Craftsmen and Shopkeepers, President Ghani said that urgent work has been done on the general plan and fundamental changes in the situation, and after completion, the plan will be shared with international partners to receive resources.
President Ghani instructed head of the Administrative Office of President to pursue the issue of the state property rental law with the head of the Chamber and to take the necessary steps. He also instructed the National Police leadership and the mayor’s office to ensure that they do not interfere in the opening and closing of shops during quarantine.
The president noted that parts of the industry could continue to function considering health conditions, but that these parts should be identified by the Chamber. He also asked the officials of this room to present their specific proposals for changing the technology as well as the technological capacities in the industries.
President Ghani referred to the proposals of the Chamber of Craftsmen and Shopkeepers and said that their proposals were reasonable but should be discussed and decided on the government leadership meeting.
The Kabul Times