MPs reject govt-proposed change to mining law
Both houses of parliament and former president Hamid Karzai had approved the previous mining law in 12 chapters and 105 articles about five years ago, but the measure was sent again to parliament in 15 chapters and 171 articles for approval.
About four months ago, the Wolesi Jirga approved the new mining law with some amendments and sent it to then president Karzai for signing.
However, again the government demanded amendment to the law’s article 74 some time ago.
Wolesi Jirga’s environment protection commission head Obaidullah Ramin told yesterday’s session that the government was bound under the article 74 to spend five percent income on development of the area where the mine existed.
“The government has proposed that the article should be removed so that it could maintain uniform development in all provinces,” the lawmaker said.
Lawmaker Arifullah Rahmani from southern Ghani province said the Constitution gave no permission to inequality among Afghanistan’s people.
“Under no excuse, a particular tribe or province should be given preference over others because it would yield negative outcome and promote prejudice,” he said.
His colleague from northern Kunduz province Kamal Safi said discrimination among provinces created problems for the country.
“If we look at incomes from provinces, Nangarhar and Herat are in the lead, but the two provinces are given no privileges then how can we give privileges to other provinces,” he asked.
But Ramin said they should accept the fact that residents faced problems in areas where minerals were being extracted.
Such areas faced environmental degradation, damages to arable lands and other problems and therefore a package should be considered for residents, said Ramin.
After his remarks, of 144 MPs present, 92 voted to approve the spending of five percent income on development activities in areas where mines exist.
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