USAID hosted the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and more than 80 private sector business leaders at the US Embassy on Wednesday to discuss reform strategies and business openings for the Afghan mining sector.
Afghan government officials, including Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Nargis Nehan; private sector mining company representatives; international partners; and officials from the Afghan and international Chambers of Commerce attended the day-long dialogue.
Participants focused on key opportunities and challenges in the mining sector and took part in interactive roundtable discussions with Afghan government representatives.
“The U.S. government is committed to helping Afghanistan build a stable, prosperous country that creates opportunity for all citizens,” said U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John R. Bass. “Developing Afghanistan’s mining sector provides great potential for employment and economic growth,” he added.
“The private sector is ready to invest in the mining sector therefore donor countries should help the sector to achieve its goal,” said Shirbaz Kaminzada, head of Chamber of Mines and Industries.
The acting mines minister Nargis Nehan said the roadmap of the country’s mines will be implemented in the near future and that most of the contracts will be awarded to the private sector.
“We have prepared some contracts in marble and other stones which will be awarded to the private sector in the near future,” she said.
Investors said the ministry of mines has failed to provide a suitable environment for investment in this sector.
“Government unfortunately has not done much for investment in mines. We don’t have power and we have not received any contract during the past three years,” Nangarhar investor Mohammad Wali said.
Among the primary private sector recommendations were issuing mining licenses and contracts, establishing mining sector incentive programs, supporting domestic and international partnerships with access to new markets, and acting to counter rampant extralegal mining practices.