The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Afghanistan held in Kabul on Saturday 5 September 2015, where the Afghan officials briefed representatives of the international community attending the meeting on a number of areas it has worked on such as good governance, fighting corruption, protection of human rights, women empowerment and economic development.
Mr. Atiqullah Nusrat, CEO of ACCI, while representing Afghan private sector, extended the best wishes of the Afghan private sector to the participants of this important conference and termed this event the international communities’ commitment for facilitating the utilization of economic opportunities of Afghanistan.
“The National Unity Government’s commitments and the efforts of His Excellency President Ghani and his government has made during last 10 months, despite the ongoing insecurity and political challenges, keep the private sector hopeful regarding the prospect of the business environment reforms.” he added.
Meanwhile, he declared, ACCI believes that Afghanistan presents unique opportunities for investment, considering the global and regional developments and the location of Afghanistan on the juncture of several big markets like central and south Asia, China and Middle East, Russia and South Asia. Moreover he shed light on great potential investment opportunities in Mines, Agriculture, Construction, Education, Health and many other sectors and stressed that efficient utilization of these resources can help Afghanistan, create millions of job opportunities.
CEO of ACCI pointed out the Private Sector Priorities for Reform conference which was organized by Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Harakat, where more than 250 business people got together in order to stimulate the sustainable economic growth and identified and recommended its priorities for reform. And the findings of this conference (11 reform priorities) were presented in London Conference, where it was agreed that the government will implement those reforms and will establish a task force to coordinate and monitor the implementation process. But unfortunately, and in some extent due to justifiable security and political reasons, the task force is yet to be established and the proposed reforms have not been implemented as expected.
On behalf of the private sector, ACCI and Harakat presente the following list of short term reforms that will not need much time and resources, but will send a positive signal to investors and the business community as concrete steps to improve the business environment:
- 1. On investment promotion:
(a) To establish One stop shop (for trade and investment);
(b) To develop the National Investment Promotion Strategy;
(c) To approve the National Trade Policy;
(d) To introduce the Investment Incentive Policy;
(e) To take specific actions for protecting investors.
- 2. On legal and regulatory reforms
(a) Revise and amend Investment Law;
(b) Revise and amend Income Tax Law;
(c) Revise and Amend Custom Law;
(d) Revise and amend Mediation and Arbitration Laws;
(e) Revise and amend Transport Law;
(f) Develop and Endorse PPP law;
(g) Develop and Endorse Electricity Law;
For the longer term of 3-5 years, ACCI and Harakat recommend the following steps:
- Include the Private Sector Reform Priorities (also known as the Afghanistan Investment Climate Roadmap) in the SOM agenda as the main private sector reform roadmap;
- Implement Afghanistan Investment Climate Roadmap through creation of a public-private steering committee or a joint task force;
- Recognize the investment climate reform steering committee as a private and public dialog mechanism with representatives from the government and private sector, to coordinate between the government, the international partners and the private sector to implement the reforms – ACCI and Harakat to serve as the secretariat;
- Officially recognize a monitoring role for ACCI and Harakat to monitor progress on commitments and report publicly.
As a conclusion Mr. Nusrat urged the participants of this meeting more especially the Afghan government to adopt the above mentioned recommendations in order to address the needs of the private sector, regain the investors’ confidence and to stimulate economic growth and speed up the reform pace. And added that, private sector is ready and willing to work with the government to implement urgently needed reform actions. We hope the government now moves to credible action.
To view the event photos click here.