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Economic

Unprecedented U.S. dollar jump and people concerns

By: Sayed Naqibullh Haidari

KABUL: Recently, the price of Afghani has unprecedentedly fallen to U.S. dollar, as foreign forces have to wrap up conflict and completely withdraw from Afghanistan.
In the country’s exchange markets, one U.S. dollar is now exchanged with 81.60 afghani and over the past three days, one U.S. dollar was exchanged with 82.10 afghani, showing that the devaluation of the Afghani in recent years was unprecedented rising grave concerns among the people.
The rise of the dollar price has affected all segments of the society, especially ordinary people, with the lowest daily income and government employees with insufficient payment.
Scores of families, living below the poverty line due to lack of work and poor security, are now facing many grave challenges.
Nayem a taxi driver in Kabul said he can hardly find 200 Afghanis from morning to evening and complained about rising petroleum and foodstuffs’ prices.
“In the last few days, the price of a liter of petrol has risen from 46 to 52 Afghanis (8.9 U.S. dollar) and it is difficult to earn money, on one hand and on the other, shopkeepers are very cruel and as soon as they hear a report, they double the rates,” said Nayem the breadwinner of an eight family members, including five schoolchildren.
Although poverty has made life unbearable for him, as the only breadwinner of his family, he has to work as a taxi driver from dawn to dusk, to support his family.
The Central Bank, however, announced the government was monitoring all currency fluctuations and the Bank’s Spokesman Esmatullah Kuhsar blamed the rising dollar price against afghani for the political situation and internal insecurity. “There is no economic reason for the rising dollar against Afghani,” he said.
According to Kuhsar, Da Afghanistan Bank, as the Central Bank of Afghanistan, manages the stability of the local currency price in accordance to the established mechanism and offers 30 to 50 million U.S. dollars three times a week.
He went on as saying the new plan has been put in place for all transactions in Afghan currency and that these plans will be implemented in the near future.
Meanwhile, Haji Dadgol, deputy head of Money-Exchangers Union at Saray-e-Shahzada – the main Kabul Money Exchange Market blamed recent insecurity and poor market management for the rising dollar price against Afghani.
“Due to the ongoing extreme situation in the country, the people exchange all their money into dollars and that the amount of dollars offered for sale by the Central Bank is not enough,” Dadgol added, warning that if the security situation continues worsening and foreign exchange market is not well managed, the price of Afghani will go lower than it is now.
Although the Central Bank is sure about controlling currency fluctuations in the country’s market, the rising dollar price has laid negative impact on the lives of many people.
A shopkeeper in the Pul-e-Surkh, west of Kabul unanimously told The Kabul Times that the rise of U.S. dollar price has pushed up the prices of other imported raw materials, because traders count their goods in dollars, and all shopkeepers have to buy food from them at the dollar rate, except for soft drinks.
Not only raw materials being bought and sold in dollars, but most transactions, such as bid prices and rent of houses, apartments, office buildings for private companies, are set in dollars, he explained.

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