DUSHANBE, January 24, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Roghun’s temporarily surplus funds deposited at Tajik banks have given the first dividends in an amount of 5 million somoni, Finance Minister Safarali Najmiddinov announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on January 24.

According to him, the dividends will be distributed among shareholders of open joint-stock company (OJSC) NBO Roghun. “General meetings of the shareholders will be held to determine forms of distribution of the dividends,” the minister noted.

We will recall that to raise funds to complete construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power plant (HPP) the government started to sell shares in Roghun to people on January 6, 2010. Tajikistan has reportedly issued 6 billion somoni (US$1.37 billion) worth of Roghun shares. They issued shares of different face values (100, 500 and 1,000 somoni) and the Certificates of Shares of face value of 5,000 somoni.

The minister noted that 22,000 people were holders of the Certificate of Shares of the face value of 5,000 and nearly 2 million people were holders of shares of the face values of 100, 500 and 1,000 somoni.

According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the government assumes the 75% ownership interest (4.5 billion somoni). “These funds will gradually go to financing Roghun’s construction,” Najmiddinov noted.

“To-date, the sale of Roghun shares has earned the government 820 million somoni,” the minister said.

As far as the possibility of buying and selling shares in the Roghun HPP on the open market is concerned, the mechanism to buy and sell the shares is still under consideration, he added.

We will recall that 157 million somoni of temporarily surplus funds raised from the sale of Roghun shares were deposited at local five commercial banks for one year. The banks reportedly pay annual interest at the rate of 9 to 12 percent.

This year, Tajikistan plans to allocate 850 million somoni (equivalent to US$194 million) for the completion of the construction of the Roghun HPP. In 2010, 844 million somoni were allocated for Roghun’s construction, including 202 million somoni raised from selling shares in Roghun to the public.