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    New strategy on mineral revenue soon

    KABUL (PAN): A "useful strategy" on the utilisation of mineral revenue is being evolved and would be presented to the Cabinet for approval in the near future, officials said on Thursday.

    Mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News said the strategy had been recommended by President Hamid Karzai and was jointly being repapered by the ministries of mines and finance.

    He explained under the new strategy, 42 percent of mines' revenues would be spend on infrastructure development projects, 20pc on education, 5.7pc on health services, 5pc on welfare projects for people's prosperity, with the remaining 25pc going to Da Afghanistan Bank's investment support programme. 

    He said it was hoped the new strategy would be included in next year's financial budget. 

    Aziz Shams, the finance ministry spokesman, called the strategy very useful and accurately based on the requirements.

    Over the past four years, the government earned $400 million (4.6billion afs) in revwww.pajhwok.com a major part of the revenue coming from the Ainak copper mine in central Logar province, he said.

    The Metallurgical Corporation of Chinese (MCC) that was awarded a contract to develop the mine in 2008 is currently working on the project infrastructure.

    Extraction work at the mine would be launched in 2013 and Afghanistan's copper exports would reach one billion US dollars by 2015, Shahrani said.

    Last week, the Ministry of Mines signed an agreement with another Chinese firm, CNPCI, to explore oil and gas at the Amu River field.

    Under the accord, the Chinese company would jointly explore gas and oil reserves with an Afghan firm, Watan Group, in the Qashqari, Bazaar Kami and Zamrudsai areas of Sar-i-Pul.

    Oil reserves in the field are estimated at 87 million barrels. Under the agreement, China will pay the Afghan government 15 percent of income from the oil in royalty and 20 percent in tax.

    mrh/ma



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