The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
Economic

Negative impacts of coronavirus outbreak on trade-transit

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Pakistan Afghanistan

By: Shukria kohistani

Spinboldak border has been closed for Afghan traders as the officials of ACCI have warned that in current chaotic situation of Afghanistan coronavirus outbreak could be a serious threat to our economy and absolutely leaves unpleasant impacts on our trade-transit activities.
Addressing the media, Deputy Director of ACCI Khan Jan Alokozay reported on closure of Spinboldak border temporarily as well as imposing of restrictions by Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with Afghanistan.
Expressing concern on coronavirus outbreak in Afghanistan, Alokozay added, Afghanistan has 75 percent imports from outside and if the outbreak continues, it will unfortunately leave negative impacts on our trade-transit and imports of raw materials and essentials will be challenged. Continued outbreak would disturb our economic balance and in short term hike of essentials’ prices would create serious problems to our people. It would cause famine and uncontrolled hike of prices in domestic markets and without international assistance, Afghanistan would not alone be able to survive.
Alokozay said that in case of further outbreak of the virus in Afghanistan UAE and Saudi Arabia… have expressed readiness for assistance. At present our borders with Iran are open and trade-transit activities are going on normally.
He said, after evaluations, authorities of both countries have concluded that large number of Afghan refugees are living in Iran in one hand and beside official borders, there are several unofficial borders between the two countries that could be used by refugees for trans-border activities and at present it is not possible to close the borders. No passengers are officially allowed to travel to Iran from Afghanistan but passengers arrive into Afghanistan from Iran and their arrival is controlled.
According to Alokozay, Turkmenistan has forbidden travel of ordinary passengers into its soil but railway is open and transactions are taking place. Beside imposing of a series of restrictions on Uzbekistan borders, trade-transit is normally going on.
Addressing the media, economist Abdul Qader Gailani expressed concern on coronavirus outbreak, said that the virus outbreak has inflicted multi-billion dollars damages on the world economy. As an importing country, Afghanistan imports 75 pc essentials including 25 pc foodstuff from abroad and if borders are closed, people will be in constraint.
In his opinion, chaotic political situations have doubled our economic problems. Coronavirus outbreak threatens our economy in one hand and due to political confusion and instabilities our national currency is losing value against foreign currencies on the other. In the past few years, the artificial economic system of free market was not managed properly and resulted in current chaotic situation. Coronavirus outbreak has made the people concerned as the unemployment rate has reached its peak and only 50 pc of Kabul and over 70pc of provinces inhabitants are unemployed. The virus further spread will be uncontrollable without international aids as the MoPH announced the number of COVID-19 affected 21 people. 

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.