Kabul, Afghanistan – The ongoing political crisis since the takeover last August has “hit hard” private sectors in Afghanistan, where businesses were halted and put to uncertainty, according to a latest survey conducted by the World Bank.
Due to shortage in sells, private companies have laid off more than a half of their employees on average, a rising concern on unemployment rate in the country.
While the Islamic Emirate continues to struggle laying out a stable political framework, many private sectors faced shortage in consumers demand, forcing investors to reduce operation and lay off a huge number of employees within the firm.
“The majority of surveyed businesses reported a drastic decline in consumer demand for their products and services and have been forced to scale back operations, reduce investments, and lay off employees,” the report said.
According to the survey, small enterprises have been hit hardest with about 38 percent of them seizing operation, comparing to a 25 percent among medium and 35 percent among large businesses in the country.
Weighting the gender of business owners, the survey found that Afghan women have been more vulnerable than men, where 42 percent of businesses own by women are temporarily closed compared to 26 percent firms owned by men.
Including all the other contributing factors, 82 percent of the business owners who participated in the survey said decline in consumers demand is of the biggest reason for their bankruptcy.
Surveyed business owners of all sizes and private sectors have cut jobs, laying off more than a half of their employees on average due to shortage in sells and/or demand for their services.
“Women employees in surveyed businesses faced more severe job losses than men employees – overall, three-quarters of women workers were laid off from surveyed firms since August 2021,” according to the report.
The finding shows Afghan domestic inputs have become more expensive and yet difficult to obtain due to supplier closure and supply chain disruptions, which all lead to price inflation since the beginning of political uncertainty.
The survey pin pointed that access to imported goods have become difficult because of the ongoing border closures, rising value of the foreign currency and increase in goods prices.
Meanwhile, banking in the country had been mostly affected, with the survey suggesting banks have “increased reliance on cash transactions and informal money transfers.”
“Domestic transactions are adversely affected by constrained liquidity in the banking sector and by a lack of access to bank accounts and/or payment services,” the World Bank said.
However, the findings underscored 3/5th of men-owned businesses reported improvement on their security following cessation of active conflicts in developing cities, whereas 2/3rd firms owned by women feared deterioration.
In August 15, 2021 the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back women’s rights advances and media freedom – the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech.