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UN says, urgent need for stabilization of banking system in Afghanistan

News Agencies | Updated on: 20 December 2021, 9:33 IST

The need for liquidity and stabilization of the banking system in Afghanistan is urgent, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told a special meeting on Sunday, as he warned that if decisive and compassionate action is not taken immediately, it may "pull the entire population with it".

"The value of the Afghani currency is plummeting, trade is wrecked by lack of confidence in the financial sector, and the space for borrowing and investment has constricted dramatically," said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths while speaking virtually to the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Pakistan.

"The need for liquidity and stabilisation of the banking system is now urgent - not only to save the lives of the Afghan people but also to enable humanitarian organizations to respond," he added.

This comes as 23 million people are already facing hunger and health facilities are overflowing with malnourished children. Some 70 per cent of teachers are not getting paid and millions of children - Afghanistan's future - are out of school.

He said Afghanistan's economy is now in free fall, and "if we don't act decisively and with compassion, I fear this fall will pull the entire population with it."

Griffiths also welcomed World Bank's Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to transfer USD 280 million by the end of December to UNICEF and the World Food Programme. "This step should be followed by reprogramming of the whole fund to support the Afghan people this winter."

"Families simply do not have the cash for everyday transactions, while prices for key commodities continue to rise. The cost of wheat and fuel are up by around 40 per cent and food now accounts for more than 80 per cent of the average household expenditure. Basic social services that all Afghans depend on are collapsing as international development support has frozen up," he added.


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First published: 20 December 2021, 9:33 IST