Construction work on an iron melting factory, a $25 million project, was launched in capital Kabul on Wednesday.
According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), currently there are 13 iron melting factories in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar and Balkh provinces. Three more factories are expected to be set up in Kabul over the next two months.Haji Khan Mohammad, the factory’s owner, said the construction work would take six months to complete.He said the factory would have the capacity of melting around 400 tonnes of iron per day and around 600 people would be employed.He assured the products of his factory would be standard and of high quality.Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, president’s economic advisor speaking at the ceremony, said: “In a situation where people are losing hopes, security is deteriorated and people are leaving the country, I’m glad that an Afghan is investing so much of his money to provide job opportunities.”“On behalf of government officials, I promise the owner of the factory that we’d prevent smuggling of old steel and iron and try to reduce tariffs,” he continued.Abdul Satar Murad, the economy minister, said such investment in the country’s current situation conveyed good message to the people. “We’d provide any kind of support to the factory.”He said people should have faith in security forces and should not lose hope and that the current security situation was transitional.He urged other investors also to invest in the country. “It’s us who will build Afghanistan. If we leave Afghanistan then who will build the country.”Mohammad Ibrahim Shams, Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) deputy head, said insecurity had caused capital flight, but expressed optimism that the situation would improve next year. “There is still hope and like ‘Khan Steel’ there are investors eager to invest in the country.”He said around $900 million was invested in Afghanistan per year during the past one decade, but due to insecurity in 2014 and this year, the figures declined to $600 million.