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Tajikistan's Largest Company Rejects Charge Of Huge Debt

The TALCO facillities
DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) is disputing claims by the Tajik power company Barqi Tojik that it owes some 96 million somoni ($22 million) in unpaid electricity bills, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Barqi Tojik said last week that TALCO should repay the debt urgently.

But TALCO -- Tajikistan's greatest industrial asset -- said on August 7 that it owed 96 million somoni to Barqi Tojik from 1996-2004 but that in 2005 the government issued a special order and restructured TALCO's debt, writing off some 60 million somonis.

TALCO, which consumes some 40 percent of Tajikistan's electricity, says it paid Barqi Tojik 6 million somoni and renovated the Tajik nitrogen plant and gave it to Barqi Tojik.

Talco added that it paid $52 million this winter for the export of electricity from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan, which was used not only by TALCO but also by Barqi Tojik customers.

Barqi Tojik reportedly owes some $10 million to Tajiktransgas for natural gas and more than $20 million to the Sangtuda-1 hydropower station for energy.

Barqi Tojik said the Tajik Water Resources Ministry and some other strategic companies besides TALCO have not yet repaid their debts to Barqi Tojik.