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Faulty machines force silo to ceases operations

Faulty machines force silo to ceases operations

May 16, 2017 - 14:57

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Central Silo Enterprise in Kabul, having around 2,000 employees and producing more than a hundred tonnes of bread, has lately ceased operations, an official says.

Lack of governmental support and damaged machinery has forced the Enterprise, established in 1955 with the financial support from the former Soviet Union, to halt operations.

Most of its machines have since been damaged due to lack of maintenance and repairs over the decades. The remaining system has also been affected.

Syed Inayatullah Hashmi, technical deputy head, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Enterprise had more than 1,800 employees at the start of its activities. It would swing into action thrice a day and produced bread, cookies, processing 120 tonnes of flour on a daily bases.

He added the facility would sift 170 tonnes of wheat and mill another 140 tonnes into flour a day. The bread and cookies were consumed by government employees and armed force.

Hashimi explained the Enterprise had been heavily damaged by decades of war. Most of its machines have been destroyed. Efforts to reactivate this venture have largely failed, thanks to little support from government and donors.

Out-of-order machines are the main problem of the silo, according to Hashmi, who said the equipment was more than 50 years old and no more capable of producing quality bread and cookies.

“We constantly contact the ministries and departments concerned. We can still supply bread to every ministry, but no organisation seems to be interested in consuming our products,” he complained.

Hashmi said the current situation of the silo enterprise was discussed in a meeting at the Presidential Palace. CEO Dr. Abdullah acknowledged the silo’s machinery was more than 50 years old and no soldier or governmental employee would use its products.

Even though no efforts have been made by the government to replace the old machines, negotiations are ongoing with the Worldinfo-icon Bank. A sum of $30 million has been sought to rehabilitate the silos in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat.

The enterprise also possesses four flour containers, built with financial aid of $ 8.5 million from Australia. As many as 22,500 tonnes of food items and flour can be stored in these containers.

A 248 square meters area of the enterprise was recently rented out to a private organisation for 60,500 afghanis a month. The revenue is spent on fixing the machinery.

Asked about lack of support, he responded: “In fact, the government doesn’t want this enterprise to be brought back to healthinfo-icon. If the government meets 20% of its financial requirements, the silo can resume operations.”

In the past, the Central Silo Enterprise had been a great revenue source for the government. Sixty percent of its income went to the state exchequer, the official recalled.

Currently, only 230 people are employed by the Enterprise, including 30 womeninfo-icon. In the given situation, paying staff salaries and electricity bills is an extra burden on the government.

Meanwhile, Silo centers in Kandahar, Herat, Balkh and Pul-i-Khumri are also used as food warehouses, as all of them have stopped operations.



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