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KABUL: Afghanistan’s Taliban administration has more than doubled prices for coal, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, as the group seeks to raise revenue from coal exports and shrink its budget deficit after being cut off from international aid.

Customs duties from coal exported to Pakistan are a key source of revenue for cash-strapped Afghanistan. Sanctions on the banking sector and a cut in development aid since the Taliban took control last August have severely hampered its economy.

The Taliban administration last week lifted prices for coal to $200 per tonne from $90 per tonne, according to finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal. Around 12,000 to 14,000 tonnes are exported, mostly to Pakistan, each day. Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have said they want to move the country away from dependence on foreign aid.

CPHGC seeks funds for procurement of Afghan coal

With customs duties increased to 30% from 20% in May, Afghan authorities will receive $60 per tonne, which Haqmal said was expected to make a significant dent in the country’s forecast 44 billion Afghani ($502.11 million) budget deficit this year.

The price hike came just after Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced plans last week to import coal from Afghanistan using local currency to save foreign reserves.

“(The timing) was coincidence. Any country would be irresponsible to suddenly lift the price without giving it consideration and study,” Haqmal said.

PM Shehbaz approves Afghan coal import for low-cost power generation

A Pakistani source said they had received indications weeks ago that the price was being reconsidered.

Pakistan mainly imported coal from South Africa, where prices have been rising in recent weeks due to higher demand from Europe.

Haqmal declined to comment on the decision but had previously said that transactions were between private traders and all customs duties would be collected in Afghanis.

Haqmal added that a team of technical staff had spent weeks studying regional markets, the domestic situation and rising global coal prices in the wake of the war in Ukraine, and settled on the price.

Afghan coal only: Sahiwal Coal, China Hub to be treated as bonded warehouses

It was calculated with the goal of ensuring Afghan traders could receive as much revenue as possible, while not sparking Pakistani traders to switch to other options, he said.

Authorities were also trying to smooth things over at border crossings - where hundreds of trucks pass each day - so that customs facilities would open 16 hours per day instead of around 12 currently, and to create space for more trucks.

Comments

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Faheem Ahmad Jul 07, 2022 03:28am
Pakistan needs to use thar coil as well, for other products if not fuel
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Fida Muhammad Tahir Awan Jul 07, 2022 07:12am
Pakistan should not worry about it and government should recheck the policies for Afghanistan.
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Adnan Khan Jul 07, 2022 09:55am
Ye jo itna sara coal apnay me para hy eska kya krna hy ke ab coal bhi import honay laga.. kanjar ki aulado ye tumko export krna chahiye aur tumho ke import krnay me lagay ho..
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Mohammad iqbal Jul 07, 2022 10:48am
Pakistan was never in a position to develop Thar coal without collaboration with big international coal players. Just like Saudi oil
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Fouzi Jul 07, 2022 01:45pm
At $200/ ton per unit of electricity will cost RS 20/ unit and according to Sindh cm Murad shah that coal is available at $56/ tom which will produce electricity at RS 6/ unit on the condition if it burns
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Hussain Naqvi Jul 07, 2022 06:59pm
Looks govt of Pakistan wants to help their muslim brothers.
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Imran Bajwa Jul 08, 2022 12:51am
Sahiwal coal plant is operational since 2017....why Pakistan was not importing afghan coal since start.this was unprecedented blunder...It's hard to believe that pak govt was importing South African expensive coal instead of cheap afghan coal.
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Abdullah Jul 08, 2022 06:40pm
@Adnan Khan, the coal we have is of not such high value to produce enough energy.You wont get electricity to charge your phone to comment here if you use coal from thar.
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