Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Why the Free Market Of Afghanistan Needs Anti-monopoly Law?


Why the Free Market Of Afghanistan Needs  Anti-monopoly Law?

Unfortunately, the pleasure of the free-market on already poor and unemployed people has remained an endless problem in Afghanistan. Instead of enhancing economic growth and helping people in hard days, it intensifies the pleasure on the lower class of the society. Even, if someone coughs in this country, the prices are sharply increased justifying on the basis of free-market but never entirely deflate even after weeks and months. In recent days with the protest of drivers, which is a normal issue in democratic countries, the prices of basic goods have sharply increased in the country. When the issue combined with the conflagration in Herat custom, it further intensified throughout the country. For example, the price of one Kg gas suddenly increased from 50 to 100. The price of 50 kg flour increased from 1700 to nearly 2000 Af. Now that both issues have ended the prices of the goods have not returned or partially returned to their previous range. Even food prices such as wheat flour which had increased during Coro-virus have not returned to their normal price range yet.Unfortunately, the chaos of the free market is not something new in Afghanistan. Nearly 12 years ago, it inflicted its first blow with a sharp increase in the price of basic goods in the country but at that time, it was justified as the tide of world economic crisis, while after the world economic crisis the issue has not solved in the country.  the upward trend of prices has unstoppably continued while no enough monetary changes have happened in the income of fixed salary takers. For example, one decade ago, the price of one kg liquid gas was around 35Afs in the Kabul market but now it is around 60 Af, nearly a 100% increase. The price of 50kg flour was about 900Af but now it is around 1800 Af, a 100% increase.  The price of 16 cooking oil was about 900 but now it is about 1700 Af, almost a 100% increase. The price of 30 eggs was about 120 Af but now it is around 200 Af, almost a 100% increase.As aforementioned, the other blow of the free-market was inflicted during corona-virus on Afghan people. After identification of the first positive case of corona-virus in the country, the prices of the hygienic and foodstuffs have sharply increased in the free-market of Afghanistan. Some food items which were considered as the main resource of vitamin C such as orange, lemon, and vegetables were unprecedentedly increased in the country. For example, the price of one kg of lemon which was about 40 Afs in the Kabul market had reached 200 or 300 and even in some places, it was reported to 500 Af.  The price of a medical mask which was about 3 Afs had reached 40 or 50 Afs.  In fact, Corona-virus had changed to a nightmare for the poor but a golden opportunity for economic opportunists in the free market of the country. One of the Kabul citizens told me that he had collected eight hundred thousand Afs as interests through selling masks during the pandemic.Despite these many anarchies and market disorders, no legal mechanism has created to ensure the stability of the free-market and also revive justice in the market. Unfortunately, we have incompletely copied the version of free-market system from western countries. If we look at Pioneers of free-market system in the world such as United States, United Kingdom, and Australia and including China and Russia have anti-monopoly law which called antitrust law in the United States, anti-monopoly law in China and Russia, and trade practices law in the United Kingdom and Australia. Because of the lack of such a legal mechanism the oppressive trend of the free-market system has deprived many people of basic needs making the poor poorer and rich richer. Unlike other countries, the richer and the capital of richer did not have any positive impact on society. Instead of playing a productive role or creating jobs, they built some skyscraper buildings promoting the rent economy or made their utmost attempt in exporting low-quality goods from foreign countries. With passing every moment the number of the population are increasing but the number of jobs and economic productivities are not. A few traders grew rich in the country, but 90% of Afghan people fell under the poverty line.As pointed out, the economic growths of our monopolist companies and traders not led to unemployment reduction and a culture of entrepreneurship in the country.  Thousands of domestic factories have collapsed in recent years either due to damping policies or unequal competition.  Instead of showing economic creativities, the traders changed to the damping tool of those who wanted to paralyze the economy of Afghanistan. By exporting the lowest quality goods, they collapsed thousands of local businesses. For example, it is said that nearly 2500 shoes making factories have been collapsed in recent years and so, the level of joblessness and also the level of social crimes unprecedentedly increased in the country. Despite this, there seems no one to learn from these mistakes. I f this condition continues, Afghanistan will never be able to stand on its own feet economically. The current destitute condition would further worsen in the future. On one hand, the jobless population is increasing and on the other hand, the international donation is declining. The solution is that we urgently enact anti-monopolistic law and putting an end to the justification of this oppressive behavior under name of the free market. In fact, no justifications can breach natural human rights depriving millions of basic human rights such as food, health, and shelter. We must stop providing wrong interpretation from the free-market system justifying hoarding, monopoly, inflation, injustice, and even the collapse of domestic factories in the country. We need to note there are some general principles such as human rights or social justice superposing any enacted laws to legalize the free market disorder and oppressions. If we fail to change the current condition, then there would be no need for terrorists to attack people; they themselves will be compelled to tear one and another to feed themselves and their families.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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