Suggestions of the ACCI in the meeting of private sector representatives with the President Hamid Karzai

Suggestions put forward by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) to H.E. the President of IR of Afghanistan during his meeting with Private sector representatives.

After the establishment of Market Economy system with respect to articles tenth, eleventh and thirteenth of the constitution, Afghanistan has had considerable achievements in the economic field and one could briefly mention the examples of successful investments took place in the sectors of telecommunication, airline, banking, higher and secondary education, construction, and health services and finally the establishment of associations and popular and legitimate economic institution.

In addition to billions of dollars of investments and creation of millions of jobs, the private sector hasbeen able to bring a positive and undeniable change in the people’s lifestyle.
Although, economic achievements of the past years are considerable, it is necessary for Your Excellency to pay more attention to planning of new policies and favorable and encouraging economic laws and regulations, the state's commitment to encouraging and supporting legitimate activities of private sector in accordance with article tenth of the constitution and finally, efforts towards solution of the problems and challenges that slow down economic activities of the private sector so that successes will be further accelerated and equal economic development policies will be implemented.

Therefore, the ACCI, as a national institution representing the private sector of the country which functions in line with the Chamber’s Law, taking into consideration its responsibilities and in order to play its active role in the country's economic development through entrepreneurships and private investments, self-sufficiency of the state from foreign aids, creation of jobs, poverty reduction and better use of the potential economic and natural capabilities and capacities of the country, puts forward the following suggestions to Your Excellency.

It is worth mentioning that the suggestions have been developed through accurate studies of ACCI’s sector committees and member business associations and discusses the key economic issues of the country in four main segments such as regulatory issues, growth of domestic production and investment promotion, trade and transit and finally empowering ACCI  as a real private sector representing entity:

1. Economic Policies and Laws (Regulatory Issues)
1.1. Proper execution of articles tenth, eleventh and thirteenth of the constitution; and compatibility of policies, laws, regulations, bills and performances of the state with these articles of the constitution;

1.2. Prioritization of economic development as the state's strategic goal and use of all possible means including politics, the system and the administration to achieve this ideal and its practical inclusion in all official statements, policies and state's mandates;

1.3. Presentation of a clear definition of market economy and devising an implementing policy for it in Afghanistan taking into consideration experience of other similar countries, guidelines of the constitution and historical, social and economic facts of the country in which the limits of duties and responsibilities of the state and the private sector are correctly explained;

1.4. Review and amendment of all previous laws, regulations, bills and procedures of government offices in line with the principles of the market economy system;

1.5. Commitment and serious belief of high ranking executive government officials in the market economy system and their efforts to its effective implementation.

1.6. Ensuring physical and financial security of private entrepreneurs against kidnappings and armed robberies as well as removal of all kind of extortions and privilege takings on highways and ensuring security of the industrial parks, towns and other private economic facilities;

1.7. Serious and decisive fight against administrative corruption in state agencies and equal implementation of the law on its perpetrators including the private sector;

1.8. Acceleration of the privatization process and competitiveness of state owned enterprises and companies in the light of the principles of market economy;

1.9. Acceleration of the reform process in ministries and government entities in order to reinforce and build capacity of their employees in policymaking and monitoring of the process of supply of goods and services and regulation of economic affairs to support consumers and attract investments as well as standardization of goods and services supply in the market;

1.10.Acceleration of the process of creation and standard activation of entities such as National Norms and Standards Agency, Land Unit Agency, Consumers Support Agency, Independent Industrial Parks Agency, Fair Competition, Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Monopoly Support Commissions and Central Statistics Agency;

1.11.Prevention of government's interventions in the market under any names with the objective to support or limit activity of a specific business;

1.12.Maximum efforts in appointing talented and professional ministers and high ranking government officials regardless to their trips and political parties in the sectoral ministries particularly in the economic sector-based ministries and entities.

1.13.Consultation with representatives of the private sector in all big economic issues and matters related to the private sector before the government makes any decisions;

2. Growth of Domestic Production and Motivation of Domestic and Foreign Investments

2.1. Devising and implementation of the country's industrial policy in which all the issues related to support from domestic products, tariff policies and identification of rational and competitive advantages are considered;

2.2. Endowment of tax exemption of 5 to 10 years for production factories in the private investments law;

2.3. Preparation and conduction of key studies of the capacities of absorbing investment in the country's economic sector such as agriculture, mines, industries and services by the ministries and respective agencies in cooperation with the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency and their accessibility for domestic and foreign investors;

2.4. Creation of a trust fund for investment support in which loan programs are considered for small entrepreneurs, particularly in the field of agriculture and women for-profit entrepreneurships;

2.5. Facilitation of necessary infrastructures such as roads, airports, industrial parks and towns and free trade zones to regularly progress entrepreneurial activities and investments, particularly in the fields of mines, agriculture, industries and services;

2.6. Provision of inexpensive and sufficient power for factories and production and investment facilities;

2.7. Devising policies and taking practical initiatives towards promotion, support and motivation of handicrafts and carpet weaving industry and traditional and homebased industries;

2.8. Acceleration of the process of issuing building permits in municipalities and the Ministry of Urban Development in accordance with international standards and capacity building of these agencies for this purpose;

2.9. Stability of local currency against foreign currencies

2.10.Exemption of custom duties on machineries and raw materials imported for the purpose of promoting local production.

2.11.Motivation of International Community, NATO forces and Government Entities to purchase local products and use local services.

2.12. Holding annual international Trade Fairs and Economic promotion conferences of by the government of Afghanistan in collaboration with relevant economy based private entities such as ACCI, AISA, Afghan Women Business Federation (AWBF) and Federation of Afghan Craftsman and Traders (FACT).

2.13.Facilitation and acceleration of foreign visa issuances for professional workers of companies, traders and particularly manufacturers and producers.

2.14.Inclusion of representatives of the private sector in formal economic trips of H.E. President and esteemed cabinet members inside and outside the country;

2.15.Holding monthly meetings of H.E. President with businessmen representing various sectors such as agriculture, mines, industries, financial services, transportation, telecommunications, media and private education and higher education institutions in order to motivate and support them and consult with them towards ideal economic growth and solving the existing problems hindering their activities.

2.16.Recently, in addition to the increase in taxes of craftsmen to 40 percent, the complicated tax collection process has also been a big issue to the private sector, therefore Your Excellency is kindly requested to pay attention on simplifying the tax collection processes while decreasing the tax to 25 percent as it was in 1388.

3. Trade and Transit
3.1. Endorsement of trade and transit agreements with the neighboring and regional countries, particularly with Uzbekistan, Iran, Tajikistan and put serious efforts to finalize the new transit trade agreement with Pakistan;

3.2. Development of new tariff policies on imported goods in consultation with ACCI in accordance with the Chambers Law.

3.3. Reviewing the income tax law and determination of fair tax percentages and solving the problems with respect to the submission of annual balance sheets accordingly;

3.4. Review and determination of controlled prices of imported goods in customs in consultation with ACCI in accordance with the Chambers law.

3.5. Persuading for profit foreign companies supplying goods and services to local market to paying taxes in accordance with the respective laws;

3.6. Serious fight against all kinds of bribery, extortion and privilege takings of custom officials in provincial borders and on the highways.

3.7. Creation of laboratory facilities to control quality of imported goods in customs and ports of the country;

3.8. Clearance of all claims and loans of private companies on government agencies;

3.9. Due to the recent natural, calamitous incidents, the price of essential commodities and food items has increased. And it’s essential to temporarily transport the food items in open trucks instead of containers (which is hardly found), therefore Your Excellency is kindly requested to negotiate the extraordinary permission of food items to be transported in open trucks, with Pakistan government.

4. Empowerment of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries

4.1. Proper implementation of the Chamber Law to support lawful activities of the country's private sector and to ensure coordination and regulation in the sector;

4.2. Consultative representation of ACCI in the Cabinet Meetings when there is important economic and private sector issues in the Agenda;

4.3. Review on the institution functioning as High Consultative Council of Private Sector in the framework of the esteemed Ministry of Commerce and Industries in the presence of ACCI and ignoring the Chambers law and the MoU signed between the Ministry and ACCI.

4.4. Clearance of the government’s liabilities to ACCI as per the approval of the cabinet meeting dated 28 Sawor 1388, particularly the liability of Ministry of Energy and Water.

4.5. Omission of the phrase "specific period" from the previous approval of the cabinet meeting regarding handover of properties and assets of State-controlled Chamber to ACCI which has been uncertain and futile during the past year despite Your Excellency’s agreement in the last meeting dated Jawza 1388. The chamber can take no action with regard to construction or refurbishment of its properties to pursue its goals unless it’s solved.

Eventually, it is suggested that an extraordinary committee should be created to pursue the goals and articles of this suggestion with a combination of relevant ministries and the respective government entities and the private sector chaired by one of the esteemed vice presidents to take necessary actions in this regard seriously. The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries is ready to provide enough documents and explanations about each of the matters in this suggestion and present it to the abovementioned committee.

Hoping for a peaceful, developed and prosperous Afghanistan