Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and Harakat – Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization jointly organized the Afghanistan National Business Forum on 27 February 2014 at Intercontinental Hotel of Kabul.
Private sector representatives from across the country including business leaders, economists and prominent business and investment specialists gathered in this Forum with an aim to discuss and analyze the barriers that impede the private sector in Afghanistan and recommended possible practical solutions.
ACCI and Harakat started the forum with introductory speeches on the current affairs of doing business and investment climate in Afghanistan as well as previous dialogues between government and private sector on modification needs for the economic policies.
Mr. Khan Jan Alkozay, First Vice-Chairman of ACCI emphasized on corruption as main challenge facing private sector. “Since past decade, multiple commissions have been creating and the President has decreed several times against corruption, but no one has paid attention. Because, most of them are involved in the corruption.” He said
Mr. Naseem Akbar, CEO of HARAKAT highlighted favorable business environment as main factor in attracting investment especially from abroad. “security, politics stability, strong will against corruption, appropriate tax system, investment incentive policies, access to finance, infrastructures such power and land and immunity of investments are the main requirements to create the favorable business environment.” He stressed
He also said that weak political will for economic development is the main cause in reducing investment in the country. "In past years, there was no political will to reform and meritocracy. Hence, necessary steps against corruption were not taken and therefore there were no practical economic policies.” He said
Mr. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, CEO of ACCI talked about objectives of the forum and said the ACCI and HARAKAT intend to print out a booklet containing the findings regarding challenges facing private sector and also possible solutions as private sector’s Formulated Economic Policy Paper. “We at ACCI and other respective economic stakeholders will be monitoring implementation of the policy paper during next government’s period.” He said
Mr. Haqjo also seriously emphasized on economic issues that have to be first priority of the next government.
Then, the participants were divided into 8 parallel working groups, concentrated on different distinguished sectors such as; Agriculture, Mining & Natural Reserves, Infrastructures, Heavy and Light Industries, Trade and Transit, Services (Telecommunication, Health, Tourism and etc), Human Resource Development and Anti-Corruption.
The working groups focused on how to create more jobs and increase income that contributes to peace and stability and highlighted the major obstacles in each sector and came up with the practical solution which will be published as a private sector led formulated policy recommendation paper. The recommendation policy paper will be presented to the Afghanistan 2014 presidential candidates prior to a follow up debate regarding their strategic economic agendum on 10 March, 2014. In the meantime, this paper will be shared with the government, civil society and the international private sector development donors in the country for their specific adherence.
Further, ACCI and HARAKAT intend to organize such forums annually to evaluate implementation progress on the policy recommendation paper as well as seek the possible solutions in a timely manner.