LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Shopkeepers in southern Helmand province say the government’s move of a two-fold increase in taxes has affected their businesses.
They say the government shifted the burden of its failure to collect taxes in insecure districts to traders in stable areas — a clear violation of their rights.
Currently the government collects taxes from Lashkargah City, Nad Ali and Greshk districts. There are a total of 12 districts in Helmand.
Zameer, a shopkeeper in Lashkargah City, said insecurity had negatively impacted their businesses and they daily suffered losses.
“Businesses are not doing well here and the government has increased taxes and is collecting the taxes of insecure district from us.”
Waheedullah, another shopkeeper from Greshk district, said earlier they would pay 5,000 afghanis in taxes but the amount had been increased by two fold.
“Revenue department officials cannot visit insecure areas to collect taxes, therefore the burden is thrown to us,” he said.
Some other businessmen expressed similar views and asked the government to pay attention to the issue.
Provincial Council head Attaullah Afghan said that the Tax Department collected unfair taxes from shopkeepers.
“The situation is not good here. The Finance Ministry also sets a huge revenue collection target to its officials who then unjustly collect taxes of the entire Helmand from Lashkargah and two districts.”
Governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak said huge tax collection targets had been set to provinces this year.
He said Helmand province had been given 970 million afghanis target and thus leaving the tax collection department with no option but to collect unfair taxes.
He, however, said it never meant that taxes of insecure areas should be collected from secure areas.
Zwak also acknowledged that insecurity had a negative impact on businesses in the province.
Helmand is one of insecure areas of the country where Taliban are in control of half of the districts.