Fuel and gas prices have hit new record in Afghanistan where approximately half the population lives below or slightly above the line of poverty. There has been an 80 percent increase in the price of gas while fuel prices have risen to 45 percent. This happens at a time when the arrival of harsh winter has already worried the poor masses of Afghanistan. Indeed, it is not only fuel and gas; there has been increase in the prices of almost all basic necessities.
The sudden rise in prices signals the vulnerable condition of Afghanistan in regards of food and energy. More than 90 percent of food and non food items are imported by Afghanistan as in the last ten years local and domestic productions have insignificantly improved.
UK aid agency, Oxfam has already warned that about 3 million people are going hungry in Afghanistan because of a drought that has gripped the country's north and west since last year. Poor rains last autumn, followed by limited snowfall in the winter and lack of rainfall again in the spring have led to severe food shortages in 14 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in the north, northeast and west, Oxfam said in September.
The concerns over severe food and energy shortages have remained high ever since Afghanistan has lost a proper administration. But in the last ten years, the government of Afghanistan has failed specifically to create strategic storages that can be utilized to influence or control prices at times of shortages like the one prevailing at current.
The adoption of free economic policy has proved to be inefficient as it has benefited certain group of suppliers who pick up food, fuel and gas from market when prices are low and resell them at high price when the market demands go up. Fingers are pointed at Ministry of Commerce which has failed to take actions against such group of suppliers and in keeping prices at constant.
Starting from the 2001, Afghanistan should have worked to reduce its dependency on neighboring and regional countries at least in the area of food items. Unfortunately our dependency has increased. This makes our condition highly vulnerable at times of food emergency.