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Electricity bill arrears: Govt entities owe Afs3b

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Government departments owe three billion Afghanis in unpaid electricity bills to the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), spokesman of the power distribution company said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference here, Sidiqullah Tawhidi said that 25 government departments owe over Afs2.7 billion. All the government entities that are in the list of defaulters owe around three billion Afghanis. These organizations have not paid their electricity bills since 2010.

He said that despite a lot of efforts and pressures through legal organizations over these government departments, the DABS failed to recover the outstanding dues in the past five years.

The spokesman said that electricity bill arrears had created challenges for the DABS. Caught between the devil and deep blue sea, the power distribution company had made name of these departments public through media.

Ministry of Interior owes Afs484.07 million, Ministry of Mine and Petroleum owes Afs12.47 million, Ministry Public Work owes Afs28.38 million, Ministry of Transportation owes Afs88.02 million, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology owes Afs42.14 million, Ministry of Agriculture owes Afs27.91 million, Ministry of Education owes Afs104.74 million, Ministry of Information and Culture owes Afs49.24 million, Ministry of Higher Education owes Afs152.36 million, Ministry of Tribal Affairs owes Afs13.37, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs owes Afs20 million, Ministry of Counter-Narcotics owes Afs15.92 million, Ministry of Public Health owes Afs210.65 million, Independent Directorate of Local Governance owes Afs345.74, Supreme Court owes Afs25.05 million, Directorate of Water Supply owes Afs190.64 million, Afghan Telecom owes Afs23.87 million, National Television owes Afs293.76 million, Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority owes Afs23.54 million, Kabul Provincial Council owes Afs9.36 million, Kabul Municipality owes Afs27.59 million and Kamaz Directorate owes Afs7.38 million.

Tawhidi said that the power distribution company would find it difficult to purchase electricity from Turkmenistan if the dues were not cleared by the defaulters.

He said that based on the agreement, Turkmenistan demands advanced payment of the electricity. “Therefore, the DABS has to make the payment otherwise, Turkmenistan will stop supply of electricity,” he warned.

He further said that DABS asked the Attorney General Office and Presidential Office to force the defaulters to clear the arrears. The spokesman said that due to these efforts Ministry of Finance has transferred some amount into the DABS account.

The DABS warned the defaulting consumers to clear the outstanding dues; otherwise, it would disconnect their power supply to step up collection of arrears.

“If the ministries and institutions [debtors] do not ensure payment of the electricity consumption bills within next few days, we will go to the defaulting ministries with media and will disconnect their electricity supply,” Tawhidi said.

He said that many influential individuals are also in the defaulters’ list and owe Afs700 million, adding that the Attorney General Office has assured the DABS of initiating legal action against those who have not paid their electricity bills.