Saba identifies study of mines as top priority

KABUL (Pajhwok): Dawood Shah Saba, President Ashraf Ghani’s nominee for the minister of mines and petroleum, on Thursday said, if endorsed, he would prevent the illegal extraction of the country’s resources.
President Ghani introduced 24 ministers-designate and heads of two independent departments to parliament for a vote of confidence on Tuesday.
The nominees for ministries of public health, mines and petroleum, communications and IT and the National Directorate of Security head outlined their future programmes on Thursday.
Dawood Saba said his first priority would be developing short, medium and long-term strategies for the next five years. “My first work would be a comprehensive study of the existing mining conditions in the ministry.”
Saba added the ministry’s previous policies needed revision and new plans would create better facilities for investors, the government and people to avoid a conflict of interest.
“Lack of technical capacity and oversight has caused a delay in implementation of major contracts for different mining projects. It has also let to financial losses, environmental damage and insecurity,” he said.
He warned corruption was contagious and if it infected the mining sector, another civil war would be inevitable. “Graft in the mining sector could spark another civil war and would hurt our national interests.”
Mining sector, he said, was a vital part of the economy but it was necessary to give a sense of ownership to the local people when it came to the extraction of subsoil assets. He also promised a crackdown on illegal and non-professional extraction.
Dr. Dawood Shah Saba is a son of Abdul Samad Khan and was born in Herat province. He is an ethnic Pashtun and has a doctorate in geology. He has also served a as Herat governor.


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