National Conference on "New Transit Routes; Journey to Self-Sufficient and Prosperous Afghanistan" held at Presidential Palace.
The National Conference on "New Transit Routes: A Journey to a Self-Sufficient and Prosperous Afghanistan" was organized by the Investment Facilitation Unit of the Administrative Office of the President. Attaullah Naseeb, Director, Investment Facilitation Unit, briefed the participants on the objectives of the conference and the steps taken to encourage investment and expand the country's exports. Qudratullah Zaki, Acting Minister of Transport, spoke about the role and value of the country's transport sector and said that H.E the President's visions, including turining Afghanistan into crossroad in the region. He said that now more than 5 per cent of commercial goods are transported by car, which is a good alternative to railways and changes need to be made in this regard. Mohammad Essa Qudrat, Deputy Minister of Revenue and Customs at the Ministry of Finance, said that the ports and border customs are one of the major sources of revenue for any country. It plays a key role in self-sufficiency and strives to transform the country's borders into a source of trade. Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the conference: "I hope that this conference will open a new chapter and path for Afghanistan." He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is committed to playing its part. Mr Atmar added that a new regional consensus had emerged in Afghanistan and that the structure is evolving. According to him, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is not only working to improve transport and transit routes; it is also pursuing new routes and hopes for international cooperation in this area. At the end of the conference, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh discussed the three pillars, regional countries, government and private sector. He said that in order to connect the countries of the region, Afghanistan needs to become a crossroad of the region. He added that turning Afghanistan into a regional crossroad is in the interest of Afghanistan and the region as a whole and called on neighboring and regional countries to invest in Afghanistan. On the role of the private sector and the government, Mr Saleh said: "The government provides the ground and the conditions are right. Come and invest!" The First Vice President said that resolving trade and transport issues with neighboring countries would take time and the government is working hard to resolve them. Mr. Saleh also said that the Afghan government has so far exported its trade and exports to India, Turkey and European countries through the Lapis Lazuli route and Chabahar port and is trying to increase its exports by opening new routes.