Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Positive sighs of a slow but suremove toward economic gains in Afghanistan.

Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor praised Afghanistan's efforts to end inflation and spur economic development but acknowledged Tuesday that rebuilding the nation has lagged.

Taylor talked about some of the gains.

...new safeguards should ensure that money sent to Afghanistan winds up where it is supposed to go and is not skimmed off by warlords or government middlemen.

The Afghan government plans to introduce a new currency beginning Oct. 7, the one-year anniversary of when the first U.S. bombs fell on the country. Once the currency exchange is underway -- it is to last two months -- the Finance Ministry will launch reforms in the way customs revenue is collected and distributed, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani said.

Taylor praised steps the Finance Ministry has taken to create an economic base. ''The Finance Ministry has put into place a financial accountability system to track revenue and spending. The currency exchange is ready. The new investment law will help to attract investors, and the government will cut export taxes,''

He pointed to a recently announced project to rebuild the road from Kabul south to Kandahar and then west to Herat as an example of a ''measurable goal.'' Roads are a priority, he said. And the formula used to get money and sign contracts for roads can be used for schools, hospitals and other national priorities. He also said security for reconstruction appears fine in Kabul and other large cities but in more remote areas, it is ''something to be addressed.''

< email | 9/25/2002 11:11:00 PM | link

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