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

Tajik Hydropower Shares Sell Fast

Early sales of shares in Tajikistan’s giant but incomplete Roghun hydroelectric scheme have been a massive success, Shohida Saibnazarova reports.
By IWPR Central Asia
In Dushanbe, there was a carnival atmosphere as shares were sold from specially-erected stalls in the street as music played from loudspeakers. People interviewed by IWPR seemed enthusiastic, saying they were effectively buying shares in their grandchildren’s future.

Within the first day of trading, stock worth 90 million US dollars had been sold. The total stock on offer is worth 1.3 billion dollars, although the authorities are hoping initially to raise enough to complete the first phase of what will be a massive hydropower scheme, so as to get it up and running.

Begun in the 1970s, the project has stalled over the past decade-and-a-half first because of civil war, and later due to lack of funding.

The share-buying campaign is designed to encourage the average person rather than high-powered investors to take a small scale in a scheme seen as crucial to Tajikistan’s future. The Roghun dam’s generating units could eliminate Tajikistan’s chronic power shortages. (See Concern at Funding Scheme for Giant Tajik Dam, RCA No. 599, 30-Dec-09.)

While concerns have been expressed about the future worth of Roghun shares, Finance Minister Safarali Najmiddinov underlined in an IWPR interview that the Tajik government itself was underwriting them and would guarantee that dividends were forthcoming.