Meeting of ACCI with President

ACCI met H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on 25 April 2015 again following the previous meetings with His Excellency on 18 April 2015 and the Hearing with Senior Economic Advisor to President and other sectorial officials on 20 April 2015 where major challenges facing businesses were addressed and ACCI presented new proposals to government.

Mr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Senior Economic Advisor to President explained results of the Hearing and said that current situation of labs in customs are not satisfactory and government needs to take serious decision either manage them well or privatize all. He mentioned interest of private sector to create private labs in three segments. 1) Oil and its derivatives 2) electronic equipment and construction materials and 3) agribusiness, food and sanitary products.

Mr. Zakhilwal also spoke about maintenance of roads and management of weight bridges and interest of private sector accordingly.

He also pointed out that traders and industrialists have different views on imposition of tariff. “They proposed that High Tariff Council should be created under presidency of Minister of Commerce and Industries and membership of sectorial ministries and ACCI and time to time hold meetings and then present results of their discussion to the Cabinet to take final decision.” he added

H.E. President underlined that he is not also satisfied neither current situation of labs nor capacity of ANSA to manage them. “ANSA is only authority to manage all labs in county, but unfortunately the office needs comprehensive capacity building itself.” He said

Therefore, he ordered ANSA to make the proposal of privatization of labs comprehensively and then present to the Cabinet to get final approval. He pointed out that private companies can apply for private labs in term of condition that must be certified by ISO first.

H.E. President extremely expressed his concern about illegal extortion by local powers in highways and ordered Ministry of Interior to prevent the extortion. He also urged private sector to report any case of extortion and join hands to government to prevent this challenge completely. “No security forces are allowed to be inside of customs.” He said

About management of weight bridges, His Excellency said that the weight bridges have become one of major corruption sources. “Anyone who belongs to politicians or local powers could not be appointed in weight bridges.” He urged New Minister of Public Works, Mr. Mahmood Baligh.

About maintenance of roads, he ordered Minister of Transportation, Mr. Mohammadullah Batash to standardize all trucks with collaboration of international transportation companies and install tracking software on each in order to check time to time standard loading of the trucks. He also said that no fee or toll is allowed without offering service in highways.

In this regard, Mr. Ismayel Ghazanfar, Vice-Chairman of ACCI said that one of cause in overloading trucks, is customs’ business time. He suggested that customs should operate by three shifts. The suggestion was welcomed from President.

Mr. Baligh, Minister of Public Works said that will standard and digitize all weight bridges in collaboration with Ministry of Telecommunication.

President pointed out that imposition of tariffs should be handed over to High Economic Council where representative of ACCI as well as respective ministries are present. “General tariffs could be modified quarterly and seasonal tariffs particularly on agribusiness products should be kept as usual. “He said.

His Excellency also said that Ministry of Commerce and Industries should evaluate capacity of each importing company that qualified companies have right to import goods specially food and medicine only.

Mr. Humayoon Rasa, New Minister of Commerce and Industries highlighted policy of government in supporting local products but in consideration capacity of local businesses to cover local market demand. “We are ready to support our industries by rising tariffs and other possibilities that government has, but in term of conditions that they undertake consumers’ demands.” He said

Mr. Rasa also pointed out the High Investment Council should organize its meeting time to time to address what challenges facing investment and find out solutions for.