Investment slump a new growing challenge

Monday, 21 November 2016 03:51 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 197 times

The top reason Afghans voted for President Ashraf Ghani was his electioneering slogans in the area of economic development and prosperity. Virtually in every election campaign gathering, he promised people to improve their economy and livelihoods. 

 

Considering his experience and work with the world’s prestigious financial institutions, it was believed he would take some concrete, rewarding steps unprecedented in the modern history of Afghanistan to resuscitate Afghan economy. People had high expectations of him for reform and economic development, even to the extent Afghans had of King Ghazi Amanullah Khan and Shahid Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan. 

Like in any other sphere, his promises to revive Afghan economy have not yet been translated into actions, and not only was enough work not done for the economic self-reliance of the country, things also got worse. A new report shows investment has dropped by about 60 percent over the past 9 months in Afghanistan, which is a bad news for Afghans who are already grappling with enormous economic constraints, dashing their hopes for a good future. 

 

Past experience has proved foreign aid money cannot build Afghanistan, so the only way to accomplish that goal is investment. The more constructively the investment is made in Afghanistan, the sooner the country moves on the path to achieve self-reliance. Indeed, it is investment that helps Afghanistan end dependency on foreign funds viewed as the mainstay of Afghan economy and become an economically self-sufficient country.  

In addition to foreign investment, Afghans in the country also have some capital, but they don’t dare to put it into the country because of certain barriers and government negligence, which have also led to billions of dollars flying out of the country over the past years, while the country is in dire need of investments. If the government had created a conducive environment for investment in the country and fulfilled its promises, not only would have Afghans not withdrawn their money from the country, but also foreign investors would have been encouraged to plough money into Afghanistan. 

Given the current economic woes, the government has to give a priority to facilitate domestic and foreign investments in the country, and should not limit its activities to the revenues of customs. The government is not responsible for only collection of customs duties or settlement of outstanding payments of previous years, it has to provide the grounds for comprehensive economic growth through adopting appropriate economic policies.