The country’s smelting factories have the capacity to manufacture at least 600,000 tons of iron a year but figures show that only 25 percent of their capacity is used for this sector as they are faced with problems with import of raw materials and lack of electricity among other challenges.
Figures by Smelting Plants Union show that one ton of locally-produced iron is sent to foreign markets for $320 while the local companies pay at least $350 for one ton of imported raw materials.
The union said “wrong policies” by neighboring countries has increased the prices of raw materials which they import for the Afghan smelting plants.
Head of the union, Parwiz Khwaja Zada, said lack of electricity is another challenges faced by iron melting factory owners.
He said that at least 200 megawatts of power is required to overcome lack of electricity while the factories have access to eight megawatts of power.
“The current opportunities in smelting industry will vanish if government remains reluctant to help this sector,” he said.
“Government should stop Iran and other countries from applying damping policies (on Afghan traders), because the situation for smelting factory owners will be more complicated as the smuggling of iron has not been prevented and the high prices of raw materials have not been controlled,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, Head of Afghanistan Industrialists Union.
Ministry of Industry and Commerce said the smelting plants have been provided more facilities compared with the past.
“We have increased the facilities for the manufacturers so that they can work better,” said Musafer Qoqandi, spokesman for Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Statistics by Smelting Plants Union show that at least $350 million has been invested in smelting plants in the country.