In presence of President Ashraf Ghani, the Master Plan for Seven Dry Ports and Economic Zones was signed between Afghanistan and SASAKI this evening at the Presidential Palace.
Attaullah Nasib, the Head of Afghanistan Investment Facilitation Unit who was the first speaker of the ceremony said given the fact the Afghanistan is a landlocked country, the government promotes cross border trade and transit with neighboring countries utilizing the significant potential in its dry ports.
“This assignment covers not only developing an economic zone in each of the dry-port but also encompasses planning for all other elements in the dry-port towns including residential, administrative, business and commercial and custom facilities,” said Attaullah Nasib while adding that the master plan of dry ports and economic zones includes Torkham, Ghulam Khan, Speen Boldak, Islam Qala, Torghondi, Hairatan, and Zaranj.
Mr. Dennis Pieprz, Principal Chair of Design of SASAKI said the SASAKI worked to develop a framework plan for Kabul and strategic framework plans for Kandahr, Khost, Jalalabad, Herat and Mazar-e sharif.
“Now we are honored to work with you on the seven dry ports and the associated economic zones,” added Mr. Pieprz.
President Ashraf Ghani who delivered the concluding remarks in the ceremony said, “This is an important day for us because it brings a number of key things together.”
He added the Afghan revenue generation system has to be predictable and capable of providing international standards that satisfy Afghanistan’s goal of becoming an Asian roundabout.
President Ghani said, “Investment in the facilities that will make our customs and dry ports places of satisfaction to their customers whether it is truckers, private sectors, importers and exporters or the citizens of Afghanistan.”
The President stressed that Afghanistan must have minimally the same standards of service and set of capabilities with its neighbors so that ease of business can take place.
He said the main goal is 24-hour open borders, open customs facilities that can provide flows.
President Ashraf Ghani termed free zones significant for easing business activities and said, “Any investment in dry ports is going to prevent movement of populations from rural areas to urban areas and is going to widen employment.”
President Ghani stressed that land should not be looked as a source of revenue but an asset to be made available to the private sector and the people of Afghanistan.