Afghan government cancels licence on country’s only cement plant

Afghan government cancels licence on country’s only cement plant
10 February 2017

The Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has cancelled the licence to operate the Ghori cement plant, Reuters reports.

The 0.4Mta plant, located in Baghlan province just north of Kabul, was originally state-run, but control was transferred to the private sector in 2006. Last year, ownership of the firm was transferred to Afghan businessman Javid Jaihoon.

The government maintains that it was not informed of the change of ownership in advance, in breach of the licencing agreement. Authorities also cited disputes over unpaid taxes and other fees, said to run into millions of dollars.

The facility is expected to continue operations in the short term, but its future is currently uncertain.

Zabihullah Sarwari, a spokesman at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, said that the licence would be put to international tender, but Mr Jaihoon questioned who would wish to operate a plant in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is dependent upon imports for most of its cement needs, with most coming from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan alone exported more than 2.5Mta in 2015, and 4.0Mta the previous year.

Published under Cement News