By: Shukria Kohistani
The United Nations’ Development Program (UNDP) in its report on impacts of coronavirus outbreak says the pandemic has resulted in increasing poverty in Afghanistan.
The report says that the pandemic has also negatively impacted sustainable development goals, particularly the efforts to eradicate poverty as the poverty rate rose to 72 percent from 55 percent ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The report titled “Potential Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on SDG Attachment” says that COVID-19 is clearly a setback for the Afghan economy and the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), but it does not undermine the country’s long-term commitment to its sustainable development vision.
UNDP resident representative to Kabul Abdullah Al Dardari by pointing to the report has asked Afghanistan government to take steps towards collection incomes and maintaining transparency so that the situation in the country gets normal.
“The impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on Afghanistan’s Sustainable Development Goals (A-SDGs) have been negative. For example, poverty rate has risen by 17.5 percent following the pandemic in the country and the figure might increase in coming months,” Al Dardari said.
According to the UNDP representative to Kabul, Afghanistan government should increase income taxes and exports to fix the situation. He added that the government should maintain transparency, prevent from increasing corruption and increase budgets for ministries to make the economic situation normal.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan ministry of finance has admitted that poverty rate has increased following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“Afghanistan government is closely working with its international allies to control the situation by providing assistance to the people,” said Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesperson to ministry of finance.
He said that no program was considered to increase income taxes, saying that the government was working to attract further assistance from the international community for the people of Afghanistan.
This comes after Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health informed of second wave of coronavirus in the country, saying that the second wave of the virus might affect Afghans during winter season.
The ministry has warned the people that they should follow all instructions of the ministry to prevent from the second wave of the virus in the country.
A number of residents of Kabul in their interviews with The Kabul Times correspondent say the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown of cities have seriously affected the people as the majority of Afghan families are living in worst economic situation.
“Poverty has unprecedentedly increased in the country as a large number of Afghan people were working in big cities and when lockdown was imposed, most of them lost their daily work and businesses,” said Amin, a resident of Kabul city.
He hoped that the situation got better and normal in the country so that all people start their businesses without any problems, asking the government to pay attention to miserable families in the country.
It is worth mentioning that in the past 24 hours, at least 44 new COVID-19 cases have been registered in different parts of the country, taking the nation’s overall tally to 39,341.