Protracted poll process hits fuel trade

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Businessmen from the northern zone said on Friday the prolonged election process had left a deeply negative impact on trade activities and dealt a severe blow to security.

Businessmen said the government needed to shift its focus to resolving the problems being encountered by the traders particular those in the fuel business.

ArashYounusi, secretary of the Balkh Chamber of Commerce, told Pajhwok Afghan News the current election stalemate had left commerce and trade activities paralysed throughout the country.

The government, he complained, had shown no urgency to resolve the problems of the business community and it unilaterally had slapped a ban on edible and non-edible oil imports.

He claimed the ban on edible and non-edible oil imports had led to a shortage of the commodity in the country on the one hand and sent prices soaring on the other.

But he lauded the Cabinet decision on allowing 50 to 80 percent oil imports. He, however, raised objections to the tax on oil imports.

Muhammad YousufGhazanfar, head of the Ghazanfar Company, called for early election results to prevent further losses. He wanted the government to take the business community into confidence on the current situation.

Younusi believed an informal visit of northern zone businessmen to Turkmenistan would produce a positive outcome for Afghanistan. He recalled the country had $550 million trade with Turkmenistan during the last six months.

In bilateral trade with Turkmenistan, oil and construction materials are imported and fresh fruits and vegetables exported.

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