Hamid Qaderi, the president of the AICC, which has 210 member companies, says the continuing state involvement not only flies against the free market system laid out in the 2001 Bonn accord that served as the basis for the post-Taleban administration, but is also a deterrent to trade and investment.
"If the government doesn't end its involvement in trade, all those Afghan traders who currently live in foreign countries will never invest in Afghanistan
Deputy Commerce Minister Ziauddin Zia argues that the private sector cannot provid for all the needs of Afghanistan's estimated 27 million people, and that public-sector industries are essential for other reasons, too.
"The government is keeping these enterprises in existence in order to prevent a lot of workers becoming unemployed," he
has asked the government several times to close its enterprises and stop doing commercial business.He
claims it has agreed to do so, but that it has done nothing to fulfil that promise.
Deputy Minister Zia points to the problem of throwing thousands of workers out of a job, although he
acknowledges that paying them not to work is no solution.
"It's a problem for the government that workers at these enterprises are getting paid without actually doing anything, and we have so far been unable to overcome this," he
"There isn't anything that the traders here wouldn't be able to handle and import into the country," said Qaderi