Amid the ongoing economic crisis in Afghanistan, the Taliban regime has raised the price of coal by 30% following Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's approval of importing coal from Afghanistan. Due to the rise in coal prices on international markets, the Afghan Ministry of Finance has increased the price of coal from $90 per ton to $200 per ton, according to local media. The Taliban stated that the hike in coal prices is intended to raise the amount of taxes and to bring in more money for a nation that is already experiencing economic hardship owing to the reduction in foreign aid.
According to a press release from Prime Minister Sharif's office, Pakistan would be able to save crucial foreign currency and create affordable electricity by importing high-quality coal from Afghanistan, local media reported. It is pertinent to note that Pakistan is currently experiencing a severe financial crisis.
PM Shehbaz Sharif claimed that buying coal from Taliban-run Afghanistan will save Pakistan over two billion dollars. To assist the nation to produce cheap power, Sharif authorised the purchase of super-critical quality coal from Afghanistan in Pakistani rupees rather than dollars, ANI reported. The release further revealed that the Prime Minister of Pakistan also instructed the relevant authorities to develop an effective system in this area.
Coal prices in Afghanistan
Meanwhile, it is mentioned that the Taliban government receives 30% of the customs duty on coal exports. Additionally, the Taliban are increasingly relying on their natural resources to exist as a result of several sanctions imposed by the international world.
Besides this, officials highlighted that the Taliban are increasing coal shipments to Pakistan and have increased sales taxes in an effort to increase money from their mining industry in the absence of direct foreign assistance. The Taliban administration does not, however, have a coal export pact with Pakistan.
While speaking with The Independent Urdu, Mufti Ismatullah Burhan, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Petroleum, said, “At the government level or with any other party, we have not entered into such an agreement with Pakistan or any Pakistani entity." The official even added, “We do not expect any gain from Pakistan because we are aware of the taste of the dollar and the euro and the poor condition of the Pakistani currency," ANI reported.
Ismatullah emphasised that even though local dealers had seen a 30% increase in coal prices around four years earlier, local merchants had seen no change in prices and that the tax would only be applied to coal exported outside of the country.
In addition to this, Pakistan's energy situation will get worse over the coming several weeks since the nation is having trouble finding liquified natural gas (LNG) at a reasonable price, Dawn reported. Owing to the scarcity of energy due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Pakistan's power fuel costs have increased by more than 100% as a result of the rise in global energy prices.