The Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the Afghan parliament called on top officials from several ministries as well as a number of academics to discuss the problems with the law of mines and consult on resolving the “rush” over contracting the country’s natural resources.
“One year of this government’s tenure is left. Our question is, Would hurrying to contract our mines help us reach the goal or would this act – in this short time – increase the problems?” asked head of Natural Resources and Environment Committee Obaidullah Ramin.
The ministers of economy and commerce and industries shared the committee’s concern over what it said is a rush to contract the country’s mines.
“We still don’t have enough knowledge of contracting the minerals, and in my opinion there should be no rush to hand them out,” said Minister of Economy Abdulhadi Arghandiwal.
“Sometimes what we are told in the meetings is different from what is on the contracts, and I think this is not good at all. The value of the minerals should not fall victim to haste,” said Minister of Commerce and Industries Anwarulhaq Ahadi.
However, the ministry of finance seemed to defend the current course.
“If procurement laws are enforced properly, I think the problems will be resolved and we will reach the necessary transparency in the contracts,” said Shafiqullah Qarizada, deputy minister of finance for policy.
Afghanistan’s mines and resources of oil and gas are said to be of the most important sources of revenue for the country after 2014, yet there are lingering concerns that rushing the contracting process might bring in less revenue.