Tajik officials told to sell cars for hydro plant

The Rogun plant, started in Soviet times but never finished, is key to Tajikistan's goal to become a significant regional electricity exporter and raise its vital aluminium production.

Tajik officials told to sell cars for hydro plant
Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon said on Wednesday senior energy officials should sell their top range government cars to raise funds to help build a new hydroelectric plant and help ease a power shortage.

Millions of people in the Muslim Central Asian nation north of Afghanistan struggled without heating and electricity during a record-cold winter this year, prompting the government to seek ways to finish the construction of the Rogun power plant.

Rakhmon, visiting the office of state energy utility Barki Tochik on Wednesday, told Prime Minister Akil Akilov to raise cash by selling off some of the executive cars, such as the Mercedes limousines used by company CEO Sharifkhon Samiev and Energy Minister Sherali Gul.

"Take them to the market and sell them," state television showed his as saying. "This will net you $2-3 million."

Another senior official, upper house speaker Makhmadsaid Ubaidulloyev, had earlier urged Tajiks to give up 50 percent of their monthly salaries to support the construction project.

One of the world's poorest countries with average monthly wages standing at about $63, Tajikistan estimates the cost of completing Rogun at between $1.3 and $3.2 billion.

The Rogun plant, started in Soviet times but never finished, is key to Tajikistan's goal to become a significant regional electricity exporter and raise its vital aluminium production.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2008, 11:57
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