Up to 90% of Afghan people are below the poverty line.
The instability of domestic currency against the U.S. dollar was the main reason behind increase in the prices.
Why the related organs are not paying attention to the basic issues to solve the economic crisis of the people?
Who should be blamed for the challenges and what is the way out?
Even though the people of Afghanistan enjoy full secure today, they do not have food security and this has caused people to be persistently in poverty day by day.
The question is why the level of poverty is widening day by day even after the return of the Islamic Emirate in power in the country, and the economy of Afghanistan is becoming more fragile compared to the past.
The Ministry of Economy, which is the only policy-making administration in the country’s economic sector, has not yet been able to evaluate the economic situation of the people enough as the people hope.
This ministry says that everyone knows that poverty in Afghanistan has various factors. Unfortunately, during four decades of war and lack of planning by previous governments, political instability, high unemployment rate, lack of economic and production infrastructure, excessive reliance on imports and financial aid from the international community, have challenged the country’s situation and caused The rate of poverty in the country has increased.
Abdul Rahman Habib, the spokesman of the Ministry of Economy added that according to the annual of the Central Office for Statistics, in 2019, the figures predicted the poverty rate to be 54 percent, but based on the statistics presented in national and international reports in 2020.
About 90 percent of the people of Afghanistan are under poverty line, the percentage of food insecurity is about 49 percent, and the unemployment rate is about 40 to 45 percent. It has been mentioned in the reports published through the offices of international organizations.
According to the information of this Ministry, the main mission of the Ministry of Economy is to plan and organize the country’s economic policy, keeping in mind the current situation and economic and social priorities for the welfare of the people.
The strategic goal of the ministry is to create employment, reduce poverty, develop and sustain economic growth.
The Ministry of Economic is working on an economic plan that is in the final stages and will soon be sent to the Council of Ministers for approval.
Taking into account these capacities, the plan focuses on poverty reduction, employment and economic growth.
In the plan, the focus is more on attracting humanitarian aid from the international community and transiting from urgent humanitarian aid and stable investment in infrastructure and regional connectivity.
Also giving priority to the agriculture sector and the mining industry as the main motive for job creation and production, moving towards the import substitution of items in which Afghanistan has an advantage and focusing more on the quality of processing and packaging of export items, and also encouraging domestic and foreign investors by using it, is one of the legal factor that most of the ministry emphasizes on.
At the same time, the country’s citizens complain that there was countrywide security ensured in the country and there was no threat to them, so why are they in a critical economic situation?
According to them, shopkeepers say they don’t know who was responsible and blamed for the fate of the people who are in need of a loaf of bread day and night.
Some Kabul citizens in separate conversations with The Kabul Times about increase in the prices said that they are now facing harsher economic problems compared than the past.
Ahmed Jan, a resident of Kut-e-Sangi, a vicinity south of the capital Kabul, told the Kabul Times that, last year, the prices were reasonable for example, a can of 5-liter oil was less than 480 Afghanis, now it has reached 1050 Afghan. Also, a kilo of sugar was 40 Afghanis, now it is 70 Afghanis and the price of one bag of flour has risen to 2,800 Afghanis.
“Currently, flour costs 2,800 Afghani each bag of 50 kilograms and a bag of rice is 3,200 Afghanis, a kilo of cooking oil of 14kg is 3,050 Afghanis and the same other needed items,” he said all necessary items have doubled compared to the last one year.
Another Kabul resident, Atiqullah who is an employee of the Ministry of Education, said: “Our salaries have decreased a lot. I live in rental house, and there are eight members of my family, I cannot afford their expenses. I demand the government of the Islamic Emirate to pay serious attention to the people condition.”
Hamid, a roadside worker also told The Kabul Times that it was very difficult to find bread in this situation.
“I work from dawn to dusk, looking for a piece of bread. There is no work. The unemployment rate is very high. When I failed to find work, I have to sit next to the homeless people to find someone to distribute dry bread for us, otherwise we will return home empty handed.”
He said that the daily income of the workers on the road is less than 100 Afghanis, a money could be earned by the beggars.
Meanwhile, businesspeople also said that when they buy goods in U.S. dollar, they are forced to change the price or sell their goods at a high price, so they shouldn’t be blamed.
Shah Noor, one of the businessmen said: “We do not raise the prices. We buy the goods we import with U.S. dollars.
The value of the dollar is increasing against domestic currency every day, as all the people have witnessed recently.”
“There are those who say that the value of the U.S. dollar has risen against Afghani, which means that the U.S. dollar has its own fluctuations, and we have to avoid losses,” he said wishing Afghanistan to be relied on its own products.
Haji Yaseen, one of the shopkeepers in the Kabul market, said unfortunately, the economic situation is critical all over the world, especially in Afghanistan, because Afghanistan is an import country.
According to him, the price of all commodities, particularly, food items are different in all the regions and cities of Afghanistan.
The shopkeeper said the prices have decreased by one to two dollars today compared to the previous days, and another reason is that four major countries have waived the tax on food and fuel for Afghan traders. “These countries including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Russia have exempted us from taxes.”
At the same time, in Shahr-e-Naw of Kabul, Kut-e-Sangi, Kart-e-Naw, the prices of food items are not the same, there is a difference of one or two hundred in the sale of goods, Yaseen said.
The reason is that they are purchasing from the Kabul Market and transferring to the shops in other areas, so this is the difference in the prices, he believed.
Manija, another Kabul resident, says it has been more than ten months since the price of food and fuel has increased in Afghanistan. She says that today some people cannot afford to buy even dry bread, let alone buy flour and oil with their low incomes.
As the Eid-al-Adha is due to arrive, the dried fruit that many people use during these days are very expensive. In the fruit markets, the prices are very high, because rich people are living in the area. They buy dried fruits at any price.
I (The Kabul Times reporter) am in one of the shops in Shah-e-Naw. “Shah Zaman, the shopkeeper, gave me the Chinese price of dried fruits, with a kilo of almonds about 3,500, a kilo of pistachios, 1600 Afghanis, raisins 700 Afghani, pea is 500 Afghanis, and chocolate some 500 Afghanis or more. Almonds are sold from 500 to 600 Afghanis.
This is to be noted that along the roads of Kabul, in the areas, where low-income people can buy more or less dry fruits for Eid-al-Adha, the prices are different. A kilo of almonds is 1,200 Afghan, pistachio 1,000 Afghanis and other items the like.
In some butcheries of the capital, the prices of meat are also different; a kilogram of meat could be sold from 480 to 550 Afghani.
Esmat, one of the butchers, told The Kabul Times that the price of meat has also changed since this year.