|Kandahar PRT Assesses Shur Andam Industrial Park|
Regional Command South
The industrial park became partially electrified last winter. The PRT visited the area to see what economic impact the electricity has had on the businesses at the site.
“I would say in the last few months there has been serious economic benefits,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Mallory, the commanding officer of the PRT from Chesapeake, Va. “The factories now have two to three times more workers and many have added an extra shift.”
The industrial park contains approximately 40 factories producing shoes, cotton, metal products, car parts, PVC pipe and other consumer goods.
Some areas in the industrial park are not yet connected to the electric grid. These businesses require on-site electric generators to power the heavy machinery at a cost of 10 to 30 Afghani per kilowatt hour or between 20 and 60 cents.
“As you know, electricity is needed for running factories,” said Fazilhaq Mushkani, the deputy director of the industrial park association that advocates for the business owners. “Our goal is to get electricity to all the factories so we can make cheaper products for the people and create more jobs.”
Amin Uhlah owns five buildings in the park, but can only operate one cardboard box making factory that employs 45 workers with his on-site diesel generator. “If I had more electricity I would open up all five factories with 100 employees each,” said Uhlah.
It costs them two to five times more to generate the power themselves,” said Mallory. “Before they couldn’t compete with imported products from Pakistan, and now they can.”