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Aqina port revenue increases despite limited imports

Aqina port revenue increases despite limited imports

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24 Oct 2021 - 16:39
Aqina port revenue increases despite limited imports
author avatar
24 Oct 2021 - 16:39

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Local officials in northwestern Faryab province claim an increase in revenue at Aqina port, saying 95 per cent of corruption has been prevented in the port, while traders say a 30 percent tax which had been waived off before is reapplied now.

They say that 95 percent of businessmen who currently had no imports through Aqina port were contractors of Ashraf Ghani administration, who were transporting goods by force and without paying custom duty. The officials say that the tax of 80 percent of traders would also go to personal pockets instead of the government’s treasure.

Low imports but high revenue collection

JavidMulavi, deputy director of Aqina Customs, told Pajhwok Afghan News, “Imports and exports at Aqina port are going normally and transparently. Eighty percent of traders who were bypassing payment of taxes were contractors of the former administration while those traders who were paying their taxes, 80 percent of their tax would go to private pockets.”

However, he said that the amount of revenue had increased despite limited imports through the port.

In response to a question regarding the amount of revenue collected, he said: “Revenue data is a government secret”. However, the level of income is higher than in the past, and if the banking restrictions of traders are removed, the amount of imports will increase which will also lead to further increase of revenue.”

“Currently, there are no powerful and corrupt people in Aqina port to create problems. All the money obtained goes to the state treasury through the system. The tax that was collected in first days of the new administration was all intact when the system was not functioning, after the system was reactivated, all that money is added to the government’s account,” he added.

There are dozens of large commercial facilities in Aqina, which he said, most of them operated under the previous government.

Mulavi said, “In these facilities, there were contracted goods stored, particularly government oil and gas. It is currently safe and used by Islamic Emirate. If traders and owners of the facilities want to continue their business, there will be no problem. But not the way they were misusing these facilities and not paying taxes.”

MulaviAttaullahOmari, Faryab governor, earlier said that the revenue collected from Aqina port had increased compared to during Ghani administration. He had said that those involved in corruption and embezzling tax money no long existed on their positions.

“Information we collected from former workers of Aqina port and Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) show that there were deals between custom officers, traders and officials. For example, based on these deals, if the tax of an importing shipment was 1,200,000 Afghanis they would count it as 200,000 Afghanis and would share the rest of the money among themselves, now all goods are registered online and the amount of tax a trader should pay is defined by the central system in Kabul,” he said.

He said that there was currently no corruption in the customs affairs and the government also did not allow such activities which were forbidden in Islam.

Traders say 30 percent tax should be waived off

A number of business representatives criticized the government, saying that the government during its first days reduced the tax on commercial goods, particularly oil and gas, by 30 percent, which led to lower prices in Afghan markets. However, they say that the tax was reapplied as it was in the previous administration.

Eng. Abdul Rahim, a representative of a trading company, told Pajhwok in Faryab that the issue of bribes and corruption had been resolved at Aqina port.

“Thanks God, corruption and bribery are eliminated by 90 percent in the port of Aqina, but some small cases still persist and may also be resolved with the passage of time,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the 30 percent tax which had been exempted on goods has been re-imposed. If it is not taken for a while, it will be better,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad YounusArman, a member of the Arman Group of Companies, says that due to banking restrictions, the import of commercial goods in the country has decreased by 50 percent.

He added that if the government leadership solved the banking problem, money will be exchanged through banks, imports will increase, prices in Afghan markets will decrease and it would resolve most of people’s problems.

Sharif Agha, president of IrkinYeol and Khorasan Balkh Company, said that when there were no bank restrictions, they paid extortions, but now there is restriction on banks which faced businesses to stagnation.

According to a report by Pajhwok in April this year, the Ministry of Finance said that up to $8 million was embezzled on a daily basis from taxes.


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