KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) on Sunday said the licenses of 20 defaulting companies would be cancelled and the firms introduced to the Attorney General Office (AGO) on failure to clear their dues.
Saihon Kamgar, MoMP spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a total of 37 companies were involved in extraction of marble stones, coal, chromite, salt and gold and they owed around 757 million afghanis to the Mines Ministry in concessions, fines, taxes and land rent from 2013 to 2018.
He said special facilities had been offered to these companies for paying their outstanding money to the ministry in installments.
Without giving details, he said 17 of the companies defaulting on 250 million afghanis used the opportunity and paid cleared their arrears in installments and the companies had pledged to clear the remaining amounts.
However, Kamgar said that 20 other companies defaulting on 507 million afghanis were yet to be ready for paying the debts.
He said these companies could submit their applications to the committee of debts of MoMP and clear their dues in installments.
The High Economic Commission (HEC) has categorized 16 defaulting companies in three categories to pay their debts in installments during a period of one to five years, he said.
“It is our commitment to collect even one afghani owed by companies and transfer it to the national treasure,” he said.
“If the defaulting companies do not pay their debts, their licenses would be cancelled and they would be introduced to AGO”, he added.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Jaafari, an expert on issues related to mining, said that MoMP should wave off most of these outstanding amounts because some of the companies had not been engaged in extractions or had limited progress in the area due to security problems or shortage of reserves.
“Companies signed their contracts before visiting the mining areas, but when they went to the areas, things were not as they had anticipated, but they had to extract a defined amount of minerals in first and second years, but they failed while the ministry demanded money from them based on the contracts,” he said.
According to MoMP, there are 1,400 mineral deposits across the country worth around 3 trillion US dollars.