Reconstructing Afghanistan

An international business conference was held in the capital Kabul last week to find out new ways to invest in Afghanistan. More than 25 foreign companies from different countries participated in an exhibition in order to introduce their goods to the market. After the decades of war and conflict, Afghanistan is finally open for business. Many foreign inverstors have invested in different business fields which gives a good benefit to the government and also opens up job opportunities for the Afghan people. Almost every foreign company that has invested in Afghanistan has taken a great profit so far, especialy those companies providing telecommunication - mobile phone companies, wireless, internet companies and construction companies. A local call from a cell phone to another cell phone is 15 cents per minute which is more expensive than some western countries. Internet prices are also higher than what it is in America and other countries - more than $250 a month. Therefor people rely on internet cafes because they can't afford to get internet in their houses and most internet companies are selling their connections to the foreign organizations and hotels.

There is still a huge need for construction companies in Afghanistan, in order to build small towns and roads. Also there is a great need of cement manufacturing in Afghanistan because we import cement from Pakistan and the Pakistani cement companies have raised their prices extremly high. The investment in private universities are a great step towards a new and modern education system in Afghanistan. But due to the high fee it's impossible for almost every Afghan student to afford the new American university which inaugurated this year offering programs in business administration and information technology. But due to the $5000 high fee for a year makes it really hard for the Afghan students, because the economy of most Afghan people is very weak. The Afghanistan budget has developed well this year. Compared to the last 4 years there has been a 30 percent increase. In comparison to the last year, although the central government has been collecting the customs tax and taxes from the merchants, the tax department has not been able to collect the taxes from around the country. The tax department has not been able to collect the taxes from more than half of the sources. According to an official from the finance ministry, the government has not been able collect the taxes systematically from the hotels, shops and other companies. In the capital Kabul there is more than a hundred thousand shops, but the tax department has only collected taxes from 35 thousand of the shops.

The administration system is very poor in Afghanistan. The work has not been given to the right people, therefor taxes and customs are not being properly collected. In some parts of the country the incomes are not even collected. The income taxes which have been brought to the government treasury have not been used properly and according to some reports around 400 milion dollars from the general revenue of the country has been wasted due to administration corruption and lack of working capacity. There are some Afghans that are living under tents but our ministries are spending thousands of dollars on buying fancy cars and furnitures. Even though our budget increased 30% this year, living conditions are not developed in the country. Wages are still low - a teacher or doctor makes between 80 to 120 dollars a month which is not enough money to survive. These civil servants should make at least $200 to $250 a month. The goverment has made some promises to increase the wages of the government employees but has not fulfilled its promise. Last year the government announced a new tax program that those Afghans who makes more than 12500 Afghani a month must pay 10% tax but the program has not been executed. If the government takes serious action and collects income tax from around the country, I am sure that after a few years Afghanistan would not rely on foreign aids and Afghan people would be able to rebuild their country with their own money and would be able to help other poor countries on the world.


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