Low wage Afghan families hit hard by lockdown

KABUL (TOLO News): A number of shopkeepers and street vendors on Friday said that the lockdown imposed in Kabul in response to the coronavirus will have a severe impact on their incomes, and will cause major economic problems if the current situation is prolonged.

Meanwhile, the Kabul police headquarters has called on the citizens inside Kabul city to respect the lockdown rules and avoid unnecessary movements to help curb the further spread of the virus.

“The Ministry of Interior once again calls on the citizens to avoid unnecessary movement, otherwise police will take action,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

“All civil servants have been asked to avoid unnecessary movement, otherwise they will be treated based on the civil servant law,” said Farid Ahmad, a spokesman for the Independent Administrative Reform & Civil Service Commission (IARCSC).

The Afghan government on Thursday extended the Kabul lockdown for three more weeks, vowing more restrictions on movement in the city, which has an estimated population of six million.

But Jan Mohammad, the breadwinner of his 11-member family says that poverty and economic hardships force him to come out.

“If someone is rich, he will not have any problem, but it is very hard for the poor to stop their business, shop or do other work,” said Jan Mohammad, a shopkeeper in Kabul.

“We hardly manage to earn 200 to 300 afs ($4) daily while we pay 6,000 afs as house rent,” said Mashooq, a street vendor in Kabul.

The government claims that it has been working on a number of programs to help the poor.

“The people need food, the government has a comprehensive program to help the people,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, deputy spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani.

This comes a few days after the government distributed 4.5kg of wheat to some poor families in Kabul and the move sparked strong criticism from the people.

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