Despite dollar’s dip Herat faces soaring fuel, commodity prices

Despite a significant drop in the value of the dollar against the Afghani, residents in Herat are grappling with persistently high prices for essential commodities and fuel in local markets.

Accusations have been levied against merchants and wholesalers for overselling, with locals asserting that the devaluation of the dollar has failed to impact the pricing of essential goods.

Attaullah Amini, an employee of Herat’s Provincial Education Department, revealed the challenges of supporting his six-member family with a monthly salary of less than 7,000 Afghanis, emphasizing the exacerbation of problems due to the winter-induced surge in food and fuel prices.

“Even as the dollar has fallen to 66 Afghanis, a liter of gas remains at 63 Afghanis. We hope for a reduction soon. Despite the decrease in the dollar’s value, the prices have remained constant. When the dollar was at 90 Afghanis, gas prices were the same,” lamented Amini.

Additional complaints from Herat residents highlight the rising costs not only for food and goods but also for petroleum products, with allegations of unchecked profiteering by the food and oil industry.

Critics argue that despite the increase in the value of the Afghan currency against the dollar, there has been no corresponding decrease in the prices of goods.

“Businessmen are responsible for keeping prices high, and the government has made no effort to control them,” expressed Mohammad Idris, a concerned resident of Herat.

Local Taliban officials in Herat acknowledged the challenge posed by the fluctuating value of the Afghani currency, stating that sellers are not provided with price lists. Mohammad Nasser Armal, spokesperson of the Taliban municipality in Herat, asserted, “The municipality of Herat has distributed price tags for commodities, and we are actively monitoring the market through our teams.”

Presently, one dollar is exchanged for less than 70 Afghanis in Afghanistan’s markets. Traders predominantly acquire goods in dollars, and the recent drop in the dollar’s value has yet to translate into cheaper prices for essential items.