Security depts ordered to aid in electricity bill collection

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The economic commission, chaired by the first deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, instructed the security departments to cooperate with Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s power distributor, in the collection of electricity bill payments from government departments and powerful individuals.

The office of the first deputy of PM said in a statement that many government departments and powerful individuals have not paid their bills either before or after the Islamic Emirate swept into power.

However, residents of Kabul city complained about the surge in the price of electricity, saying that they are facing economic challenges.

“They are stealing with the electricity bills. They should feel some sympathy for the country so the country will be developed. The people are poor,” said Abdul Samad, a resident of Kabul.

“Our electricity bill was very low previously, but it has now increased,” said Zabiullah, a resident of Kabul.

Officials within DABS vowed to address the problems of citizens regarding electricity.

“Those individuals who complain about the electricity bill can call us on a 144 number and we will address their problem,” said Hekmatullah Maiwand, a spokesman for DABS.

Analysts estimate that around 40 percent of DABS’ income depends on the government and that if the payments are not paid, DABS will face severe economic problems.

“If the government departments do not pay the electricity bills, DABS will face bankruptcy and this will affect the activities of DABS—which will not only affect the government departments but all of Afghanistan, particularly the economic sector,” said Amanullah Ghalib, former head of the DABS.

Earlier DABS warned that it would sell the property of organizations and individuals who have not paid their bills.

DABS announced the decision and has also stated that Afghanistan owes $62 million to four neighboring countries for imported electricity.

Safiullah Ahmadzai, acting operational director of DABS, said that after the procedure is finalized and approved by the caretaker cabinet, the company will start selling the properties of the indebted officials and local powerbrokers who have left Afghanistan.

According to DABS, the total amount of electricity bills owed to the company is around 500 million Afs.

“We are working on a procedure. A policy should be established to receive payments for the electricity bills from these people. Based on the policy, we might sell their properties or we will find alternative options,” said Ahmadzai. To what extent will the sale of properties aid DABS in paying the electricity costs?

Amanullah Ghalib, the former director of DABS, said: “This will address the problem in the short term. An amount of money will be collected to pay the electricity cost–at least an installment. But in the long run, it cannot resolve DABS’ problem.”

Residents of the country welcomed DABS’ decision, saying the company should do all it can to prevent the cutoff of imported electricity.

“Their properties should be sold. They have left the country and will not return. The poor people have paid bills and now electricity should not be cut off for them,” said Rohullah, a Kabul resident.

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