Afghanistan: Power outages force hundreds of Nangarhar factories to close

At least 400 factories in eastern Nangarhar province have been forced to close due to ongoing electricity blackouts across Afghanistan.

Officials in the industrial town of Nangarhar said that the abrupt production halt has resulted in the loss of millions of Afghanis to manufacturers in the province.

Manufacturers said the lack of electricity has caused serious problems and its left thousands of workers without jobs.

Pacha, who runs a factory in the industrial town, said: “We urge the government (Taliban) to resolve the electricity issues. When there is no electricity, it means clearly that we should close down [the factories]. Other factories are also on the verge of closure.”

Noor Alam, another factory owner, said that hundreds of factories had been closed in the industrial town due to the lack of electricity, which he said has left thousands of people jobless.

He added that in addition to the impact it’s had on jobs, manufacturers have also lost millions of Afghanis.

“The lack of electricity is a big problem and it has caused us huge financial loss, thousands of people have become unemployed,” he said.

Nangarhar businessmen called on the Taliban to dedicate a portion of the general electricity supply to industries in Nangarhar so that factories can continue to operate.

The root of the problem

The Taliban officials at Afghanistan’s electricity company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), said that Uzbekistan has reduced the amount of electricity it exports to Afghanistan.

Hekmatullah Momandi, a spokesman for DABS said: “The electricity imported from Uzbekistan to Kabul; they said they will not supply the amount of electricity as was agreed. We have allocated most of the available electricity to industrial factories.”

But it’s not only the factories that have been affected, households are also trying to cope with limited power and residents have called on the Taliban to take concrete steps to resolve the electricity problem with Uzbekistan as soon as possible.

This is not the first time that businessmen raised their voices over the power shortage in Afghanistan. This has been an ongoing problem over the years which has also discouraged business owners from investing in Afghanistan.

Some believe that the Taliban should look at developing water management across the country and building more hydroelectric dams in order to become self-sufficient with regard to power in the future.