$150m revenue expected from mines: Shahrani
KABUL (PAN): The Afghan government would receive $150 million in income from mine extraction during the current year and the revenue could reach $3.5 billion over the next 15 years, a Cabinet minister said on Sunday.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani, who was summoned to the Wolesi Jirga, told lawmakers that his ministry's total revenue stood at $14 million in 2009 and at $84 millions in 2010. He said the income was expected to reach $1.5 billion in the next five years.
The annual level of mine extraction would be determined in line with the ministry's policy, he said, adding 70 percent of the revenue would be spent on infrastructure development projects.
"If the income is spent on basic infrastructure development projects, hundreds of people will find work opportunities and the economy will receive a boost," the minister continued.
He said the ministry's policy was focused on transparency in award of contracts. "We know huge bribes are taken from firms before the signing of contracts," the minister acknowledged.
He identified the shortage of professionals and funds as the main hurdles to extracting mines, saying part of the income would be used to train mine workers.
The American geology department last year put the total worth of mines in Afghanistan at one trillion US dollard, but Afghan officials put the figure at three trillion dollars.
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