The operation of the Hairatan-Mazar railway will be handed over gradually to the Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA), officials said. With managing the technical affairs of the railway and the transportation of commodities, the ARA said, the income of the government will increase. The transition of technical activities will shift from the Uzbekistan company to the Afghan government.
“We have sent them a statement that after May 10 the Afghan government will take charge of the collection of income from the railway,” said Bakht Rahman Sharafat, head of the ARA.
The technical operation of the Hairatan-Mazar railway is currently managed by an Uzbekistan company. Afghanistan pays $18 million per year to the Uzbekistan company.
The Hairatan-Mazar railway is one of the main transit paths for Afghan goods. Based on available figures, the government receives $2.5 million to $4 million per month in revenue from the railway.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Trade and Investment said that the railway is effective in reducing expenses of the transportation of goods.
“It cost us less. The money will circultate inside Afghanistan. At the moment, Uzbekistan takes most of the benefit. We pay them in dollars” said Khan Jan Alokozai, a member of the ACTI.
The traders said that a large amount of gas, food material and construction materials is being imported from China, Russia and Central Asia via this railway.
“We are using this railway in a major way, which runs between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan,
“The people of Afghanistan are involved in the management of the railway. This a good step to be take because Afghanistan needs a railway which will be 800k meter long as part of the longterm (strategy)” said Azeraksh Hafizi, an economist.
The recent statistics shows that the rate of imports has dropped in Afghanistan.