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Tajik President Orders Oversight Of Power Plant Funds

Many Tajiks rushed to buy the shares when they first went on sale
DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has ordered the establishment of a "Public Commission" made up of journalists, members of NGOs, and other nonstate representatives to report every 10 days on the use of public money to construct the Roghun hydropower plant, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmon said last week he is dissatisfied with the slow sale of shares in the planned power plant after the Finance Ministry reported that since January 6 -- when shares first went on sale -- some 671 million somoni ($153.2 million) has been collected by the government.

A reported 30 million somoni ($6.85 million) in additional funds has been donated by individuals and businesses.

Tajikistan has issued 6 billion somoni ($1.37 billion) worth of Roghun shares, which officials have said is how much is needed to begin producing electricity at two units at the hydropower plant in western Tajikistan.

Nuriddin Qayumov, the head of the Economic Research Institute in Dushanbe, said the creation of the Public Commission is "a step in the right direction" but added that the large number of low-income people in Tajikistan are unable to give more money toward the construction of the power plant.

Tajik economist Massud Sobirov said he agrees with that assessment and added that the Tajik government should invest more money toward Roghun from the state budget.