The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Pakistan’s coal imports from Afghanistan criticized

Afghan people mostly social media users criticized the recent coal contract between Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the move would seriously damage the country’s economy.
The issue of extraction of mines including coal and other precious minerals should be made clear for the people, a Kabul resident told The Kabul Times by anonymity. The Afghan citizens ask the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum for giving details about the type of contract with Pakistan.
This is while, the ministry rejected signing contracts in mining sector with any country including Pakistan but called the neighboring country a good market for the Afghan coal exports.
“We do not have a formal contract with Pakistan or any other country. We sell coal to the domestic sector and do not impose any restrictions on its export, but wherever there is a good market, the coal is exported to. Now, Pakistan is a good market for the country’s coal,” the ministry’s spokesman Esmatullah Burhan told media.
He said currently, about 100,000 Afghan citizens are working in this sector to earn a piece of bread. The coals that Afghan traders bring to Ghulam Bandar sell there for about 50,000 to 55,000 Pakistani rupees per ton.
Although it is not clear who owns these domestic companies, but there are allegations from social media users that the companies have links with some Afghan certain officials.
The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of the Islamic Emirate has not commented about the claims.
According to the mining law, the nature of the contract with all companies must be clear on what principles the contract was signed.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, said between 10,000 and 15,000 tons of coal were exported to Pakistan daily, but reports quoted Pakistani officials as saying last month that the figure was 500,000 tons a month.
He said in accordance with the geological research, there are more than eighty different coal mines in Afghanistan, from which only 17 are currently being extracted.
According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the revenue that came from coal mines had reached to 429 million Afghanis in the past week.
According to the spokesman, there are currently 186 contracts with various domestic mining companies across the country, of which only 60 have been signed by the Islamic Emirate government and the rest contracts are signed by the officials of the previous system.
Recently, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has approved the import of coal from Afghanistan in rupees instead of the U.S. dollars, saying the move will help the country save precious foreign exchange.
According to media, Sharif expressed deep concern over the rising price of coal on the international market, saying it was the main reason for generating expensive electricity from coal-fired power plants in the country.
“The coal imported from Afghanistan in rupee terms will not only generate cheap electricity but also help save the country’s precious foreign exchange,” Sharif said.
The prime minister was informed that import of coal from Afghanistan would save more than $2.2 billion annually.
Sharif also said for taking all necessary steps to ensure prompt delivery of coal imported from Afghanistan to power plants.
He ordered the formation of a committee of all officials concerned headed by the defense minister to expedite the import process. Pakistan already supplied its needed coal needs from Indonesia and South Africa and Indonesia’s ban on coal exports unexpectedly pushed up coal prices on world markets.
Although, the price of each ton of coal in the world markets has reportedly reached $400 so far, but it is not yet clear at what price the Afghan coal is sold to Pakistan.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.