At least 50% of Afghanistan economy might be illegal — statistics

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KABUL (TCA) — Preliminary results of a new assessment by the Afghan Central Statistics Organization (CSO) show that illegal economic activities have reached the size of the legal economy in Afghanistan, TOLOnews agency reports.

According to official statistics, poppy cultivation, drug trafficking, illegal mining, illegal exports, unpaid taxes, the grabbed lands’ business and money laundering account for the bulk of the illegal economy of the war-torn country.

“An initial review shows that at least 50 percent of the country’s economy might be illegal,” the CSO deputy chief Hasibullah Moahid said.

Moahid said he suggests that further assessments into the issue to find the exact figure of the illegal economy in the country.

According to Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), some government’s high-ranking officials and parliament members are the main players of the country’s underground economy.

“There are many problems. You know when we do business, we pay one million AFs (as taxes), but when they do trafficking, they pay only 300,000 AFs (as taxes). We have two options: to stop our business because we cannot compete with them, or to join them and establish relations with them,” the ACCI deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozay said.

He urged the government to eradicate the illegal economy.

The ACCI officials say that the Afghan government has no plan on how to stop the underground economy in the country.

Sergey Kwan

TCA