Government announces takeover of cement plant under allegations by officials of the Afghan Investment Company that it violates the law.
Govt Takeover Of Baghlan’s Ghori Cement Plant
After a decade of affrays over the contract of Ghori cement plant, one of Afghanistan's largest cement companies, the Afghan government on Wednesday announced it has retaken control of the plant from the Afghan Investment Company.
But, officials from the Afghan Investment Company have leveled allegations that the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) ordered the company to hand over the plant, which is a violation of the law and decisions of the high economic council.
In response to the allegations, ministry of mines and petroleum said the government move against the private company was legal.
Last year, the Afghan government sent a delegation to Baghlan province, where the company operates, to cancel the contract with the Afghan Investment Company and to retake control of the plant.
“We are confused, because the government yesterday brought someone else, before carrying out the necessary calculations and determining the investment and other analyses,” said Mohammad Maroof Sarwari, CEO of Ghori cement plant.
“The contractors have kept their commitments, one of the commitments of the contractors was to invest $140 million here in the next ten years,” said Riazuddin Sharifi, an official of the Ministry of Mines and Petroluem.
Afghan Investment Company officials have said that the company allocated over 1,600 jobs to the people and it also increased production capacity of the plant to 1,400 tons of cement daily.
But, ministry of mines and petroleum said the plant has the capacity to produce only 420 tons of cement and that the private company also violated its commitment to invest on a third plant.
“They will be treated in accordance to the laws of Afghanistan and the mines law,” said Abdul Qadeer Mutfi, spokesman for MoMP
The company, which was privatized in 2007, is understood to have a total capital worth $50 million.
Afghanistan is estimated to use more than 300 million tons of cement per year, most of which is imported from neighboring countries.
According to the official, Mahmood Karzai headed the private Afghan Investment Company.
Officials said that later on the factory was handed over to a private bank and following that Jawed Jaihoon purchased 80 percent shares of the plant and took control of it.