Panic hits Kabul markets amid coronavirus threats

Although coronavirus outbreak and spread have not reached “Social Rotation” stage in Afghanistan and the situation is in government control, but it is possible that the situation would go out of control in near future and be changed into a humanitarian crisis in different dimensions.
The crisis may appear in market situation and supply of families’ economic essentials. According to experiences of other countries, if the situation becomes critical and the Ministry of Public Health and its partners encourage citizens to quarantine in their houses and prevent them to walk in markets during quarantine too, people would massively rush to markets to buy essentials, detergents and evacuate the shops from these materials.
Since Afghanistan is an importing country, contrary to other countries, imports major and basic parts of its requirements from abroad because these essentials are not produced inside of the country. Shortage of essentials may result in hike of prices and exorbitant and staggering of essentials needed by people.
In such a situation some businessmen may resort to hoarding of essentials and try to collect more benefit in another situation. Supply and demand are important and dominating principle in market relations. If demand increase for certain materials, certainly prices increase too. Nowadays we witness that prices of detergents and mask have hiked many folds than the normal situation prior to coronavirus outbreak.
Therefore, the private sector is required to supply and procure sufficient quantities of essentials needed in critical and emergency states according to their commitment in the meeting of High Economic Council led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and based on estimation and evaluation of needs.
We should have enough foodstuff, medicines and detergents for possible emergency days ahead and adopt preventive measures. The private sector should commit that exploiting all available opportunities, procure all essentials and supply them in affordable prices in case of emergency state.
The private sector should consider Islamic, humanitarian, fair and moralism in such situation and help and assist citizens to shorten the hand of those individuals or groups who usually become active in such a condition for jobbery. The hand of needy people must not be extended to such people.
Afghanistan too like other countries is not void of pious and faithful and humanist businessmen. In such a situation these businessmen should think on their deserving countrymen’s tranquility and should have programs and measures for such an eminent day.
The Afghan government particularly the sectoral departments including Ministries of Finance, Commerce and Industries, Agriculture and Livestock should undertake particular measures now and be prepare for possible crisis.
The Ministry of Finance at the same time that allocates needed budget, should instruct its custom houses to render comprehensive cooperation with importers of essentials and traders. The MoCI should make efforts in close cooperation of ACCI to remove problems of private sector and businessmen and enable them to import essentials needed and supply them to domestic markets and prevent shortage of materials. The MoAIL should be alerted to supply its strategic reserves like flour, rice, etc to bazaars.

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