In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Mr. Haqbeen Sahib, Hashemi Sahib, esteemed representative from the Her Excellency the First Lady Office, Ms. Noorzai Sahib, Koohi Sahib, the esteemed teachers of the Ministry of Education, students, universities’ students, brothers and sisters, good morning.
First of all, I would like to send my salutation to the pure souls of the martyrs of the security forces, who lost their lives at the front lines during difficult times for the defense of the homeland and the supreme interests of the country.
I think that Mr. Hashmi Sahib, Mr. Haqbeen Sahib and others stakeholders spoke about Tashabos, I want to focus on three issues in this program.
The key exclusivities/exceptionalities of Afghanistan’s economic system, the role and position of the government and of the private sector. I want to take your time on these three principles.
Look, Afghanistan’s economy, is one of the smallest in the region. For example, if we go to neighboring countries, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, as per the size of economy in terms of key criteria and indicators, we have the smallest economy in the region. The issue of our trade balance is totally negative. That is, if we assume our export is about 10% the import is 90%. Those who are professional in economics, understand the meaning and definition of this issue, this means that if you had 10% of exports, it means that you created about 100% of jobs. But unfortunately in the business sector we are facing a huge trade deficit. The most important feature, you understand that in the name of informality, you know the informal economy. That is, an economy that can be called an informal economy without paying revenue to the government, without having a license from the government, without being subject to tax, without implementation of a policy on top of it by the government.
Do you understand the informal extent of Afghanistan’s economy? About 80% of our economy is informal. Well, let me discuss the informal economy. What is the informal economy? You understand that most of our industries are start-ups. Unfortunately, in the past years when we were at war, we could not have done better to take Afghanistan into industrialization. When we say that our industry is a fledgling industry, then where is this informal economy, and most of our GDP, and most of Afghanistan’s livelihood from that area, is from this informal economy. Then, where is this informal economy? This is an informal business economy, meaning more than a few millions of you are an entrepreneurs. You heard in Her Excellency the First Lady’s lovely message about the informal entrepreneurs and government’s connection.
One of the characteristics of the current government is that laid the foundation of work of the private sector, which means that it creates a policy for everything that gets an agreement, in the name of law and regulations and other legislative documents, to improve the private sector. The state is not an industry, the state is not an entrepreneur, the state is not an investor, the state is not a businessman, so who is the state? The state is obliged to provide services for this classes. Ministry of Industry and Commerce based on the policies and views of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is to turn the importing and consuming status of Afghanistan into production status. We established three basic principles, our first principle was that Afghanistan should be industrialized. In relation to the industrialization of Afghanistan, we started our work in several dimensions. In the field of entrepreneurship, which was one of our key tasks, when we say that we have 80% of the informal economy and the entrepreneurs form the largest part of this 80%. We have included in the center of policy all the work that has been done in this regard (contracts with universities and other centers) that had a key role in the field of entrepreneurship, and the key dimension in our industrialization is the key work that we inaugurated about 12 projects in the industrial parks. Previously, if someone wanted to build a factory, they had to work for months to process their documents. We now have one square meter of land available in the industrial parks for AFN.50, and this is one of the key achievements of the Afghan government.
We in Afghanistan have never considered the Afghanistan’s progress as the flutter of NATO flags and flags of foreign powers. We see Afghanistan and its development in the dimensions of (Micro-Soft), compact and other technologies that show our industrialization. Afghanistan’s self-sufficiency depends on you. In the past, when we were students, they/teachers used to tell us that the future of Afghanistan is in your hands. I can tell teachers and students that the present and the future of Afghanistan is in your hands. This is the policy of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which provided a very special situation for you. See, the countries that have the best experience, Mr. Haqbeen, had some hints, for example, South Korea and Switzerland, the unemployment rate in Switzerland is 2.5% and the highest cost, which is assumed to be the example of students, is the cost of the university, that the students bear. Thus, they are the lowest number of people who go to universities and education, and where is the most work the training centers. Suppose, for example, that they the students increase their professional knowledge. I will give you an example, if you look in Kabul, you can hardly find a designer, who can design. You use your personal addresses, if you want a painter, you want a plumber, the key problem in Afghanistan is that unfortunately this sector was not given much attention.
The second part that I want to present to you is the issue of trade. We want to eliminate the business/trade deficit and increase exports. What is export? Exports are not something that, for example, we export under the slogan of something, so exports require the industrialization of Afghanistan, and exports require the mechanization of Afghanistan’s agriculture, and exports require the mobilization of Afghan entrepreneurs. When we are not satisfied with these three elements, we have not invested in them, so we cannot have an exporting Afghanistan. The majority of our export items are agricultural stuffs. The question here is whether we should export agricultural products, till when, and have an economy that relies on agricultural products, will it be enough until the end? Undoubtedly the answer is no.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Ministry has taken a series of basic steps to improve the situation. I’m sure the majority of the friends who are here have more business knowledge than I do. In 2014-2015, if you ask, for example, someone who wanted to apply for a business license, how long a license took and how much was the license cost, most of you may know. I would like to have an introduction in this section with you. Every year, the World Bank broadcasts a survey called (World Bank Business Indicators). Afghanistan was unfortunately a country in the rank of one hundred and eighty, which is worse than the countries of Africa, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chat, and in South Asia Bangladesh.