The Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) has released a report arguing that the revenues from Afghanistan's resource extraction industries over the past five years have plummeted from 286 million AFS to three million AFS.
The AEITI report also suggests there have been major differences between the facts and figures regarding revenues reported by the Afghan government and those documented by independent organizations over the years.
"One of the main problems that we found and failed to settle is that one of Afghan companies in 2008 deposited seven million AFS into a government account as customs duty for importing equipments for mines extraction in Afghanistan, but there is no record in the company, the company has lost its record, but it is kept by the government," AEITI head Mirwais Sarah said, providing an example of the kind unstandardized systems and documentation that trouble the resource extraction industry in Afghanistan.
Officials at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), from which AEITI was created in 2009, have said that the lack of clear policy and protocol when it comes to mining, in particular, has caused major problems. "We still have no special or clear policy for mining; major companies invest, but we don't have a clear policy," Deputy Minister of Finance for Customs and Revenues Gul Maqsood Sabet said.
However, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) has defended the transparency of the government's contracts system. "So far, all contracts - whether small or large - have been published and they have been available for all," Deputy Minister of Mines and Petroleum for Policy and Programs Mir Ahmad Jawed Sadat said.
AEITI officials have said the primary issues facing the Afghan resource extraction sector is the lack of standardized policy and protocol, accountability and transparency. They have argued these are the major causes for the differences in government-reported revenues and real revenues.
AEITI was originally established to ensure the transparency and monitoring of revenues collected from the mining sectors. They have published three reports, and the most recent one was put together in coordination with an Azerbaijani company known as Moor Stephens.