Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Shares in Tajik Electricity Plant Go on Sale

As the Tajik government starts issuing shares in a strategic hydroelectric scheme, analysts say investors need to be sure they will get their money back.
By IWPR Central Asia
Last month, President Imomali Rahmon appealed to everyone in the country to buy shares in the Roghun plant, so that work on the dam and reservoir can be completed and the turbines start generating electricity. Once fully operational, Roghun could wipe out Tajikistan’s chronic power shortages. (See also Concern at Funding Scheme for Giant Tajik Dam, RCA No. 599, 30-Dec-09.)

President Rahmon set a target of 600 million US dollars, and suggested that – leaving aside those too poor to buy the shares – every household should invest 5,000 somonis, worth just over 1,100 dollars.

A range of analysts interviewed by IWPR radio reporter Firuza Ghoibova agreed that investors needed to be reassured that their shares have a guaranteed value, perhaps underwritten by the central bank; and that even if it took time, they would eventually get a return on their money.

Political scientist Rashid Ghani Abdullo makes the point that once the initial burst of enthusiasm is over, the government is going to have to sustain the public’s interest in acquiring Roghun shares over the life of what could be a long project. Cast-iron guarantees for investors are the only way to create this confidence, he says.

Other analysts recommend publishing the Roghun company documents in full so that every shareholder can see what he or she is investing in.