Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 20th, 2018

Business Institutions Must be Strengthened

One of the ways Afghanistan would be able to face the serious challenges in different sectors is to strengthen its economy. A reliable economic system would help in political stability and restoration of security. The country cannot keep on relying on the external support indefinitely. It has to stand on its own and face its economic challenges itself. Most importantly, it needs to let the businesses grow, support them and enable them to bear roots. Both national and international businesses can assist the country in its journey towards a stable economic system.
However, the fact is that the attention given to the economic system of the country is really insufficient. Moreover, the different institutions that can play a great role in this regard have been victimized by incapacity and corruption. And, without strong economic institutions, developing the basic infra-structure on which to make the economy stand is almost impossible.    
One of the main institutions that has a key role in Afghanistan’s economic prosperity is Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI). This institution has to be supported, groomed and managed properly so that it shoulders the tough responsibilities that are given to it. Unfortunately, the institution is being dominated by controversies and ill-management. On Monday, June 27, the Afghan business community, entrepreneurs and private sector leaders, in a press conference, demanded that the current leadership of ACCI step down and hold fresh elections immediately, claiming that the current board’s tenure had expired 18 months ago and it has been refusing to hold a new round of elections. They also said that businessmen and businesswomen wanted the ACCI leadership to adhere to the laws of the chamber and those of the country to ensure sustainable development of the market, business and economy of the country. They stressed that it was duty of the chamber to prevent any mistrust, misuse of public resources, abuse of power and authority.
They also highlighted that the business community is facing serious challenges like kidnapping of businessmen, procurement issues and challenges, low quality of services especially in large projects, lack of electronic payment systems, failure to attract foreign direct investment, WTO representation, low employment and brain drain challenges, lack of support mechanisms and programs for Afghan businesses especially for women-owned businesses, misuse of ACCI resources by those in authority, capital flight etc. and, these all issues remain unattended, while the authorities are busy in saving the positions in the institution.
They, therefore, demanded that ACCI and other responsible bodies should play their role in supporting the private sector, holding elections through a transparent process to ensure that it is a representative body of the private sector and can contribute to the economic growth and development of already fragile Afghan economy.
There are different pre-requisites for businesses and investments to flourish. Among them stability and security play a dominant role. If different systems within a country are stable and there are not major fluctuations every now and then, the ground is said to be ready for the investors and businessmen to jump in and establish their businesses. Businessmen want consistent outcomes from their investments and they abhor seeing political and social changes disturb their businesses.
The evil like insecurity plays major role in discouraging businesses and investments. Different incidents of terrorism and killings compel the businesses to shut down, and frighten the investors to invest. The societies marked with insecurity do not have consumers going to the markets and enjoying the luxury of shopping different products. Afghanistan is one of the same kinds of country where insecurity has been influencing the economic life to a large extent. Both national and international businessmen are not readily willing to invest in all the sectors and they do not see positive prospects of their businesses. As insecurity has been overwhelmingly influencing the country, the development in the basic infra-structure has been meager.
The doubts and uncertainties of the Afghan market have made the international investors to think thousand times before they take an initiative to start their businesses in the country. Though there are great opportunities in Afghanistan and the country is blessed with different types of mineral and other natural resources, the economic infra-structure has not been able to get enough attention.
Afghanistan needs to have strong economy so as to go through the transition period and most importantly to survive after the international supports dry. The country has to start from the institutions and basic infra-structure development and has to reach to a stable economy, wherein the businesses are able to function without any fear and inconsistency. The business institutions like ACCI need to develop an environment that can be galvanizing for both the national and international investors. Moreover, the golden opportunities wherein Afghanistan can exert maximum and can get the best outcomes from must be discovered and they should be strengthened so as to push the country towards self-sufficiency.
On the other hand, the businessmen and investors must also keep the national interests in their consideration while they establish their businesses and start getting the outcomes from them. They have to keep this in their minds that the society as a whole has certain rights that have to be fulfilled by them.