Uzbekistan will stop exporting electricity to Afghanistan next month if Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the national power distribution company, fails to pay its bill to the Uzbek government, sources told TOLOnews on Friday.
Delegations from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan have so far been unable to find a solution, but officials from DABS have said that efforts are underway.
“We have paid half of the money from the electricity bill for the month of April, but they (Uzbekistan) in a letter asked us to ensure the payment of next month too,” said Amanullah Ghalib, the head of DABS.
Currently, Afghanistan imports 400 megawatts of electricity from Uzbekistan, which costs the country $13 million a month.
Compounding the problem, recently DABS said that it faces a 60 percent reduction in revenues over the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company, therefore, has asked for a $50 million loan from the Afghan government to fill this gap, according to DABS officials, who warn that the company will not be able to import electricity over the next few months if it fails to pay its debts.
Meanwhile, a number of residents in Kabul have expressed disappointment over the report, calling on the government to take action.
“The law is enforced only on the poor, the government needs to take action against the strongmen to pay their bills,” said Hamidullah, a resident in Kabul.
“We call on the government to ensure the payment of money owed by the government institutions and govt officials to DABS, this will help to bring Breshna out of the crisis,” said Mirwai Alimi, the former head of DABS.
According to DABS, government institutions have not paid their electricity bills for the first three months of this year, for the amount of Afs2.8 billion ($36.6 million).
Afghanistan imports the majority of its needed electricity from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. DABS numbers show that 80% of Afghanistan’s electricity is imported, and the country pays almost $280 million for this annually. Kabul often goes dark when power supply lines are destroyed or damaged in armed conflicts.