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    Private firms issued fuel import licences

    KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Commerce and Industries had issued fuel import licences to some private firms to meet public demand and stem the influx of substandard supplies to the market, a Cabinet minister said on Wednesday. 

    "Currently, 60,000 companies import fuel to the country, with 60 of them supplying substandard oil to consumers," Commerce and Industries Minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi told reporters in Kabul.

    Some firms had been issued licences under certain conditions, the minister said, explaining the companies without permits would not be allowed to import oil.

    He identified illegal imports as a key factor in the increase in fuel rates. Calling the current fuel prices fair, Ahadi said one litre of diesel sold for 65 afghanis ($1.31), the same amount of petrol for 61afs and one kilogram of gas for 60afs. 

    Ahadi said his ministry planned to build up gas reserves of 2,000 tonnes in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and at the Hairatan port during the next solar year. The commerce ministry is capable of storing 1,200 tonnes, not enough to meet the requirements.

    He thanked the finance ministry for allocating $30 million for fuel imports and another $11m for meeting future needs of the landlocked country.