Afghan restaurant sales drop 80%, owner fears for future

  • A Kabul restaurant owner said the Taliban takeover left him hopeless.
  • Sales fell by 80% at Mojeburahman Musleh’s establishment, the Laziz Mahal restaurant.
  • The people of Afghanistan have reduced purchasing power and cannot afford to eat out, he told Insider.

Until three months ago, sales were steadily increasing at Laziz Mahal, a newly renovated fast food restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Then the Taliban took control of the capital.

Restaurant owner Mojeburahman Musleh told Insider he’s now struggling to keep his business running. He said the regime made everything worse and “everything looked bleak” to people like him.

Musleh is not alone. Since the Taliban took power over Kabul, many Afghans have been worried about their future.

“Laziz Mahal restaurant was badly affected by [the] regime change in Kabul, most of our potential clients have left the country and those who [are] on the left cannot afford to eat at [the] restaurant, ”Musleh told Insider.

He said he had regular clients who worked in government institutions and the private sector. From now on, they no longer appear as much because the offices in the capital are closed.

Her friends also used to eat in her restaurant every day and now they don’t come either. The restaurant has suffered an 80% reduction in sales and service, and Musleh is struggling to pay his employees and other minor costs as a result.

According to Musleh, these struggles are the result of the declining purchasing power of many Afghans, which has been hit hard in recent weeks. Essentially, “fewer people will go out to eat,” he said.

Afghanistan’s local economy has been left in dire straits as the Taliban prepare to put in place a new government.

At a recent event hosted by the Atlantic Council, the former head of the central bank of Afghanistan, Ajmal Ahmady, said: “I don’t want to talk about an economic collapse, but I think it will be. [an] extremely difficult or difficult economic situation. He predicted that the GDP would decline by 10-20%.

Banks face a liquidity shortage and may soon have to shut down to the public unless the Taliban releases more funds, Reuters reported.

The cash flow shortage has been going on for weeks, with a month now having passed since the collapse of the Afghan government, according to the report. Bankers fear the situation could lead to inflation in food and electricity prices.

The Afghan economy is cash based, especially for local businesses. The country depends on money shipped from the United States to the Afghan central bank, but with around $ 9.5 billion in assets frozen in the country’s central bank, the Taliban will likely inherit increased difficulties.

Gargi Rao, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData, said: “With multilateral agencies including the EU, IMF and World Bank putting funds on hold, this will further discourage growth prospects amid the pandemic. of COVID-19. ”

Musleh said he buys his raw materials in dollars and sells his service to customers in Afghan currency.

But in recent weeks, the Afghan currency has lost value, falling about 10% against the US dollar. In the week following the Taliban takeover, it went from around 79 afghanis per dollar to 86 afghanis per dollar, Insider’s Kevin Shalvey reported.

When asked how Musleh how the weakened afghani would affect his restaurant, he said he will have to raise prices to get to a more balanced point.

“Frankly, I see no hope for my business,” added Musleh. “If this matter continues in [the] in the very near future my restaurant will be closed and the result will be unemployment for all team members. “

About Walter Bartholomew

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