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Tajikistan reduces power supply to Afghanistan from 350 to 40MW

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: July 28, 2020)

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s national power company, announced Monday that imported electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan has been reduced from 350 megawatts to 40 megawatts effective Tuesday.

In a statement released on Monday, DABS said the power has been reduced due to water shortages in Tajikistan.

However, DABS stated that an alternative had been found and that an additional 200 megawatts from Uzbekistan is being imported for Kabul and other provinces. DABS also said it was hoping to secure a further 200 megawatts as soon as possible.

“We faced the issue at 7am on Sunday, the electricity company was able to talk to Uzbekistan, and now we have provided 200 megawatts of electricity from Uzbekistan to Kabul,” Wahidullah Tawhidi, a spokesman for DABS said.

“Considering the domestic electricity, we have a total of 300 megawatts of electricity. We’re trying to get another 200 megawatts of electricity as soon as possible. The power in Kabul is relatively good right now,” he said.

According to DABS, electricity imported from Tajikistan serves Kabul, Nangarhar, Laghman, Logar, Pakita, Khost, Parwan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Baghlan, and parts of Kunduz provinces.

Meanwhile, economists say that more needs to be done to boost the domestic energy sector, especially regarding renewable energy and the production of energy from natural resources such as natural gas.

 In November 2019, Bayat Power made history for Afghanistan when it successfully implemented the nation’s first 40-megawatt gas-powered Independent Power Producer (IPP) in over four decades using natural gas.

According to experts, Afghan Gas requires a lot of attention from the Afghan government in order to optimize its operations so as to sufficiently supply fuel for the 40MW power plant which is the only one of its kind in operation currently.

“If investments had been done on the electricity sector over the last decade, we would have become an exporter of electricity by now. I wish investors would successfully implement projects in the energy sector, similar to what Bayat Power did in Jawzjan and other provinces, lighting up thousands of homes,” an Afghan economist Hakimullah Sediqqi said. 

“The government should think about this. In the long run, we should see the opening of dams, the opening of solar power, and have plentiful natural gas reserves worth billions of dollars. We should be able to use these resources to solve our problems of poverty and unemployment,” said Salim Toofan, an economic expert. 

DABS meanwhile agreed that Afghanistan does have the means to produce power for the country. 

“There is the capacity of using solar, gas, and water energy to generate electricity in Afghanistan,” said Tawhidi.

“Currently, the solar system in Kandahar province generates 40 megawatts, and the hydroelectric power dam of Helmand also generates 100 megawatts of electrical power,” he said. 

However, noting private investors’ achievements in this sector, he said: “Bayat and Ghazanfar Groups have invested in power production utilizing natural gas in the northern part of the country, of which Bayat group’s electricity supply project is operational.” 

He said: “There are opportunities for the private sector to invest in energy supply, and the government is ready to cooperate with them.” 

The use of natural gas in energy production, specifically by Bayat Power – the first natural gas power plant in Afghanistan – has the potential to boost domestic energy production to 200MW as planned, provided Afghan Gas can deliver the much-needed fuel to operate the state of the art SGT-A45 Siemen’s turbines, which are the first to be deployed worldwide, in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

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MTN to quit Afghanistan, along with other Middle Eastern countries

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2020)

MTN Group will exit its operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan to become an Africa-only-focused telecommunications operator.

The group said in a statement on Thursday that “MTN has resolved to simplify its portfolio and focus on its pan-African strategy and will, therefore, be exiting its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly manner over the medium term.” 

The group is already in “advanced discussions” to sell its 75 percent stake in its Syrian subsidiary, CEO Rob Shuter said in a call with journalists. It is negotiating with TeleInvest, the 25% owner of the Syrian business, about the sale.

Shuter said the initial focus will be on exiting its operations in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. However, it also plans to divest of its 49 percent of its stake in MTN Irancell in time.

News of the Middle East and Afghanistan exit comes after a lawsuit was filed in the US in April this year that claimed MTN and several other Western businesses aided terrorist organizations in activities carried out against the United States in the region.

Filed on behalf of American service members, civilians, and their families, who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan, the complaint alleged that MTN paid over $100 million to al-Qaeda and the Taliban so its towers would not be destroyed.

The lawsuit also claimed that MTN would switch off these towers at night, and in doing so, hampered US intelligence operations.

Mybroadband.co.za reported that MTN previously filed a motion to dismiss the original lawsuit, because it said the court lacks jurisdiction over MTN, which does not operate in the United States, and because the complaint does not allege any conduct by MTN that would have violated the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Following an amendment of the complaint by the plaintiffs in June this year, the operator now anticipates filing another motion to dismiss on largely the same grounds.

“MTN remains of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories and will defend its position where necessary,” the operator said.

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Air Arabia Abu Dhabi launches new service to Kabul and Dhaka

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has announced the introduction of two new destinations — Kabul in Afghanistan and Dhaka in Bangladesh – with direct flights from Abu Dhabi commencing on August 7.

Initially there will be three flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Kabul, on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

 

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi was formed following an agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia to establish Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier that follows the business model of Air Arabia and complements the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi thereby catering to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi started its operations in July 2020 with flights to Alexandria and Sohag in Egypt from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

 

 

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Gov’t collects more than 2.2 billion AFN from 10% telecom tax in past seven months

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(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

The government has logged more than 2.2 billion AFN in tax collection via the 10 percent telecom tax on mobile phone subscribers since the beginning of the current fiscal year. 

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) said Saturday that through the Real-Time Data Management System – a system used for monitoring the collection of the 10 percent taxes from telecom services – it managed to collect the revenue.

“We managed to collect more than 2.2 billion AFN since the beginning of 2020 and handed it over to the government treasury,” said Abdul Samad Hamid Poya, a spokesman for the MCIT.

Experts, however, claimed the Ministry has yet to ensure transparency in the collection process of the 10 percent revenue tax from mobile phone users.

According to them, the ministry failed to provide details about the exact number of active SIM Cards. But Samad Hamid Poya blamed some telecom companies for not providing them information on the issue.

“We acknowledge that the Ministry of Communications has done some of its work, but if the 10 percent tax would be collected transparently the ministry could generate more revenue than what they have shared,” Salim Tufan an economist told Ariana News.

Last year the MCIT installed “Real-Time Data Management” for the collection of tax across the country. The system was aimed at collecting genuine information through connecting with the telecommunication network system to ensure and gain public confidence in the transparency of the collection process of 10 percent telecom tax and other telecommunication revenues.

Since then, the system remained one of the most controversial issues in the Ministry. Critics believe that the system cannot ensure transparency in the mobile tax collection.

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