Steel factories hit by electricity shortage in Kandahar

Steel production at four iron foundries that operate in southern Kandahar province has dropped dramatically in recent months due to the ongoing shortage of electricity. 

Shams Madina is a large factory that produces mild steel, and steel rebar, in the industrial town of Kandahar. It has the capacity to produce 30 tons of steel rebar a day and according to Shamsullah, the factory’s director, 256 people are employed at the steel plant. 

Head of the company, Shamsullah, said that he invested $10 million in the construction of the factory and it sends steel products across Afghanistan.

“Our products are of better quality than foreign ones and are sent to all provinces, but we are faced with lack electricity. We will produce more and more people will get jobs if the issue is addressed,” he said.

Shamsullah stated that he buys scrap iron from across Kandahar city and then melts it down in the foundry to produce steel.

Rozi Mohammad, 39, who is a resident of the Spin Boldak district in the province and who works at the factory, stated that the Taliban must provide businessmen with facilities including electricity to eliminate unemployment in the country.

“I am a resident of Spin Boldak district, I work here and there are about 250 people working here. May Allah help us so that our electricity problem will be resolved. And that the activity of the factory would be increased and more unemployed people will be provided with jobs,” he added.

Sayeed Sarwar Amani, the head of the Taliban chamber of industry and mines in Kandahar, also stated that a number of factories in the province are dealing with electricity issues.

Amani said that the Taliban provincial officials are trying to find ways to resolve the electricity problem in Kandahar Industrial Park.

“The lack of electricity is a major problem for our manufacturers, but we are trying to solve it,” he added.

Mufti Ali Mohammad, the head of the industrial town of Kandahar, said that more than 200 factories operate in the industrial park of Kandahar and they are able to supply the factories with 8 hours of electricity per day.

“There are around 300 factories in the industrial town of Kandahar, 70 of which are closed, but they are supplied with electricity for 8 hours a day, and we are trying to increase the water supply in the Kajaki dam (Afghanistan’s largest hydroelectric power dam) to increase production of electricity,” Mohammad added.

The Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) office in Kandahar said one issue is a pause in Kajaki Dam operations over lack of water.

A DABS spokesman in Kandahar, Ehsanullah Amin,said they are relaying on thermal power which is supplied foreight hours to keep the factories operational.

Factories in the industrial town of Kandahar produce food items, drinks, and plastic goods.