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SAARC seeks trade facilities to invest in Afghanistan

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) asked the Afghan government to provide necessary trade facilities in order to invest in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the joint press conference with Atiqullah Nusrat, Chief Executive Officer of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), Chief of SAARC, Suraj Vaidya said that SAARC Region is the biggest market place for the South Asian Countries by having the 1/4th population of the world. He added that if the SAARC Countries start doing business among them, it will have extremely positive impact on the other parts of the world.

He added that Afghanistan has plentiful natural resources, however, he lamented that business was remained great concern in Afghanistan. He said that Afghanistan has more than 3 trillion dollars minerals resources that make Afghanistan one of wealthiest country in the region.

“Businessmen willing to invest in Afghanistan but they don’t have idea to invest in which areas, therefore we call on the government to give as areas to form an industrial parks” he suggested.

He asked the Afghan government to support private sectors through facilitating trade opportunities with aim for development the country. He termed lack of trade visa for SAARC businessmen a great challenge.

Hinting to the lack of job opportunities, he said that if SAARC governments start investing in different areas, jobs would be increased and the menace of unemployment would be solved. He added that majority of the youths from South Asian countries leaving their country due to lack of jobs. However, he added that if the SAARC governments pay attention and start investing in different areas, unemployment would be solved.

The objective of the association is to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life, and to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.

Chief Executive Officer of ACCI, AtiqullahNusrat said that the business delegations of SAARC and chamber of commerce from Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Sri- Lanka came to Afghanistan to discusstrade opportunities as well as its challenges ahead.

He said that Afghanistan has 85 percent business ties with Pakistan and 15 percent with India while it does not have any business dealings with other members of SAARC countries.

SAARC is comprised of eight South Asia countries, comprise of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sir Lanka.

He said that all members of SAARC, has issued sticker visa for their private sectors and they can have easily trade in each mentioned countries except Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately the government so far does not issue sticker visa for our traders and businessmen, that’s’ why they cannot have trade with these countries. Therefore we called on the government to provide such visa for our traders as well,” he added.

“Afghanistan has lot of investment opportunities in different fields including mines, petroleum,railways,agriculture, education and health sectors. But what Afghan government is suffering and failed to utilized its natural resources, it is political interference of the neighboring countries,” he added.

Deputy Minister for Commerce and Industries, MuzmilShinwari said that Afghanistan has economic potentiality, but it is hard to benefits from it due to politics blade of neighboring countries.

Chamber of Commerce industries of SAARC established in 1992 and ACCI received its membership in 2008.