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Tajikistan To Allow Roghun Shares On The Market

Construction of the dam near the Vakhsh River, seen on the left
DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Finance Minister Safarali Najmiddinov has said it will soon be possible to buy and sell shares in the Roghun hydropower plant on the open market, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Jamshed Shermatov, who heads the Finance Ministry department that oversees the stock market, added that the buying and selling of Roghun shares will be done through registered market brokers. He did not give a date when such exchanges will be possible.

Tajik affairs expert Bahrom Sharifov told RFE/RL that shares in the Roghun power plant should be viewed as a long-term investment and anyone who wanted to make a profit should wait until the project is completed and the plant begins to generate and sell electricity.

Najmiddinov said the sale of Roghun shares to the public began in January and has thus far earned the government some 890 million somons ($184 million). He said Tajikistan recently paid Ukraine 76 million somons for parts that it needs to complete the first two turbines of the power plant and has enough reserves to pay the some 800 million somons that is still owed.

The government announced in January that it needed some 6 billion somons ($1.37 billion) to complete construction of Roghun, and launched an aggresive campaign to persuade Tajiks to buy shares in the project.

The International Monetary Fund recently said that the $184 million already raised from the sale of shares is enough to finance two years of construction, and said the government should suspend its campaign to sell shares.

Responding to concerns from Uzbekistan about the environmental impact of Roghun, the Tajik government said it has agreed to ask international experts to assess the possibility of reducing the height of the dam from the planned 335 meters.