Balkh oil refinery resumes production

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): An oil-processing plant owned by the Ghazanfar Group has resumed activities after four months of closure at the Hairatan port in northern Balkh province, officials said on Monday.

Having the capacity of refining 500 tons of oil annually, the facility resumed operation in the presence of a number of high government officials on Sunday.  

The oil-refining process had been halted because of technical problems, but the plant had been made functional in line with a cabinet decision, said Mohammad Ibrahim Ghazanfar, in charge of the facility. He told Pajhwok Afghan News the refinery had been built at a cost of $32 million, having the capacity of producing high-quality oil and generating employment opportunities for 400 people.

“Establishment of the refinery, which can process 500 tons of crude oil in a year, is a big investment in the petroleum sector,” he added.

Mohammad Rassoul, a fuel importer, said the Ghazanfar Group was importing crude oil for processing, with six percent less tax. He urged the authorities to seriously tackle the issue.

But Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Muzamil Shinwari, who attended the ceremony, dismissed the allegation about the Ghazanfar Group oil-processing plant.

He said such initiatives should not be opposed because it could play a vital role in strengthening the local economy. “When we directly process oil in our country, we contribute to stabilising the economy,” he added.

Also present on the occasion was Balk Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who said it was a matter of great pleasure that a major investment had been made in the country.

The investment could help put the country on the road economic self-reliance, which would create job opportunities, he hoped.

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