Officials of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said on Monday that the ministry will involve the private sector in the long-awaited Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
Officials said that private sector investment in certain technical areas of the project is needed and that companies with the capacity to deal with this can get involved.
This comes after key Afghan ministers on Friday said that work on TAPI gas pipeline project, which aims to transfer natural gas from Turkmenistan to the three other countries, will start in December.
“The private companies that will be given priority will be in the technical and implementation sections of the TAPI. This move by government is in a bid to encourage investment and provide job opportunities for the people,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Mahaiuddin Noori said.
Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) has welcomed the move and said that the private sector has the capacity to help implement the project.
“The private companies have the necessary capacity for the technical implementation of the TAPI project but … this should be considered during the election process as ways for corruption should be prevented,” Deputy Chairman ACCI,Khan Jan Alokozay said.
Recently, a senior Afghan delegation, including the Minister of Finance Iklil Hakimi, Minister of Mines and Petroleum Daud Saba, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Assadullah Zamir and Economy Minister Abdul Sattar Murad visited Turkmenistan to discuss details about the project.
Highlighting the significance of the trip and the all-important Kabul-Dushanbe economic and commercial relations, officials from the Afghan Ministry of Finance said the trip was successful and that proper grounds had been established to bolster economic and transit ties between the two countries.
The Afghan delegation focused on a number of topics which are said to be critical in developing Afghanistan’s economic needs.
Other areas discussed were the increase of electricity from Turkmenistan, LPG and oil imports from the country into Afghanistan and improving cooperation between the two countries for the standardization of customs services.
Expanding cooperation on imports of food items from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and boosting the agricultural sector in Afghanistan also came under review.
In recent months, relations between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan drastically deepened and both countries came with a new agenda to take fresh initiatives at improving commercial relations.