An Unlikely Headline: Not Every Afghan Company is Corrupt
Corruption in Afghanistan is a hot topic these days. More specifically, corruption in the contracting process. It seems like every day as I scan the news I see headlines like “ US Indirectly Paying Afghan Warlords as Part of Security Contract“, “Two Afghan Companies Plead Guilty to Bribing Officials”, and the newly released report “Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the US Supply Chain in Afghanistan”. The information coming out of these reports are articles are enough to make you want to ditch any inclination you had to buy local lest your money goes in to the Taliban’s coffers.
Please hold that thought. What I’m going to say is something that you probably know, but it’s important to state anyways – not every Afghan company is corrupt.
“But wait” you say, “how can I tell who is corrupt and who isn’t? I don’t have time to do a background check on every Afghan company that I want do business with”.
Fortunately, PDT does that for you. All of the companies we register, train, pass tenders to and present in matchmaking reports have been personally verified by our staff. The registration process includes an onsite interview to ensure the company is legitimate, and the same verification criteria is applied to every company, regardless or their size, yearly sales, or section/region of operation. To be registered with PDT, a business must:
– Have a current license issued by a Government licensing authority (such as the Ministry of Commerce or AISA, the Afghanistan Investment and Support Agency);
– Be license as a “domestic” rather than “international” business, as shown on their licensing documents;
– Be able to provide copies of their business license and Articles of Registration;
– Be owned by an Afghan national(s) that holds 51% or more of the share of the business, as indicated on the licensing document;
What’s more, 50% of the businesses on our Business Portal have between 10 and 50 employees, and another 30% of businesses have less than 10 employees. It’s unlikely that Ismail’s Construction Company has anything to do with the scandals making their way through Washington right now, but his business will certainly benefit from the contract to build a school in a rural Afghan district.
Small and medium enterprises are the group with the most potential to stimulate economic growth in Afghanistan, and by branding all Afghan businesses as corrupt you are taking away that potential. These businesses aren’t putting their money into Swiss bank accounts; they’re re-investing it in the local economy by buying products from other Afghan vendors, by hiring new staff, and by paying taxes to the Government. (And by the way, what are these Afghan vendors and new staff doing? Spending their money in the local economy! The Keynesian multiplier at work, Inshallah).
So the next time you’re cringing reading an article entitled something like “Taxpayers Money Goes Into the Hands of the Taliban Thanks to the Contracting Process”, remember that not all Afghan companies are corrupt. And PDT can help you do business with the small and medium-sized businesses that will make a difference in the local economy.