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Industrialists say struggling with power, land shortages

Industrialists say struggling with power, land shortages

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Oct 09, 2018 - 19:29

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Industrialist Association (AIA) on Monday said 420 new factories were set up in capital Kabul during the last eight years, but the plants lacked urban services, enough electricity and land.

A meeting titled ‘A dialogue about industrial factories’ problems’ was held today at the Pul-i-Charkhi Industrial Park. The meeting was attended by the labor and social affairs minister and some other officials as well as a number of industrialists.

Some industrialists also engaged in a verbal dispute with the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) (power utility) head and accused the department of corruption.

Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, head of the AIA, told the meeting that 15,000 people would work 280 factories at the Pul-i-Charkhi Industrial Parks in 2010, but now 40,000 workers worked in 700 factories in the park.

He said 200 of the factories functioned in rented buildings due to the lack of land while the factories also faced a 40 megawatts of electricity shortage.

“Canalization problems still exist in the Pul-i-Charkhi Industrial Parks and some roads of the park remain unconstructed despite the fact that factory owners pay millions of afghanis in tax to the government for urban services”, he said.

Electricity shortage increased in winter, further affecting production, Paiman said, calling imports of similar products as another problem. He asked the government to take industrialists’ problems serious and resolve them.

The industrialists also asked the government to provide them with enough electricity and land for their factories as well as simplify the license issuance process.

They said the government should increase levy on import of products that were also produced inside the country.

Faizullah Zaki, labor and social affairs minister, who attended the meeting, said that efforts had been made to simplify the license issuance process for both national and foreign investors and the process would be even further simplified in future.

He said a plan was also underway for creating a professional and technical institute in Pul-i-Charkhi Industrial Parks and other industrial parks of the country.

However, the shortage of electricity issue turned into a verbal dispute between the DABS head and industrialists.

DABS head Amanullah Ghalib said he could not supply more electricity as it was not available with his department.  “The electricity shortage is a problem for all of us, the electricity does not come from the air so I can distribute it to you.”

Currently 1,400 megawatts of electricity existed in Afghanistan; but the country needed 2,000 megawatts, he said, adding the whole of the country faced with shortage of electricity.

Ghalib said the power consumption increased during winter season and it affected all people.

He criticized industrialists and said some of them defaulted on power bills. “We have repeatedly told you for cooperation in renewing the power cables for prevention of power loss and we will count it in your bills, but we did not hear a response from you.”

Ghalib promised he would work for solving the power shortage problem and asked industrialists to help DABS in this regard.

Mohammad Azim Karimi, head of the AIA, agreed that some industrialists had defaulted on power bills, but he accused DABS of corruption.

Another industrialist, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the power utility was deeply rife with corruption as one power transformer was counted for millions of US dollars in DABS.

However, Amanullah Ghalib in response, said: “I agree corruption exists in all government offices, but if you have any evidence about corruption in our office please present it, I will remove the corrupt officer immediately, please talk evidently.”

Representatives of industries and the ministries of commerce, finance and Kabul municipality also promised to work for solving industrialists’ problems.

mds/ma

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