The Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday decided the joint lower house commission would debate again a new draft mining law before it was placed before the general session for approval.
The existing mining law containing 12 chapters and 105 articles was approved on November 18, 2008 by a joint parliamentary commission before being signed by the president.
After five years, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum came up with a new draft law due to problems in the one already in force. The amended version, having 20 chapters and 116 articles was resent to the assembly.
On Wednesday, the draft was placed before the lower house by the environment protection commission, which said lawmakers remained divided on Articles 9, 14 and 84. Article 9 was approved on April 26, while Article 14 was passed today.
Article 9 says ministers of mine, finance, foreign affairs and economy, national security advisor and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) head should be members of the mining evaluation commission.
But on April 26, the lower house added names of information and culture, agriculture, irrigation, interior and energy and water ministers to the list.
The environmental commission head, Obaidullah Ramin, said Article 14 banned radioactive trace materials and envisaged bidding for their extraction after approval by the cabinet and endorsement by the commission.
But some MPs suggested changes to the article, saying enrichment and other activities be carried out in line with proposals of the commission, endorsement of the cabinet and approval of the assembly.
Of the 128 lawmakers present, 116 endorsed house commission’s views. But some MPs stressed the draft mining law needed to be debated in detail.
A legislator from Kandahar province, Shakiba Hashimi, warned lack of clarity on mining contracts in the draft law would pave the ground for corruption.
Her colleague from Ghazni, Abdul Qayyum Sajjadi, urged the joint commission to discuss the draft law because it had problems.
But Ramin said the draft law had been debated by the joint commission several times.
First Deputy Speaker Sediq Ahmad Osmani ruled the house could not approve disputed articles of the draft law due to lack of quorum. As per legislators’ suggestions, the joint commission should discuss the draft and share its views with the house.