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    Ministry asked to enforce decision on tax relief

    KABUL (PAN): The High Afghan Entrepreneurs’ Advisory Board on Saturday asked the Ministry of Finance to endorse the Cabinet Economic Committee's decision on tax relief for 3,000 containers that have been stranded for months in Pakistan.

    The board head, Rahimuddin Haji Agha, told reporters in Kabul the Cabinet committee had waved off tax on the 3,000 containers that had been stranded at the Karachi port for three months. But the finance ministry was yet to act on the decision, he complained.

    Agha explained the containers, which crossed into Afghanistan last month, were yet to be cleared by customs departments in Nangarhar and Kandahar. As a result, traders continued to incur losses after paying $150 (more than7, 500 afghanis) per day for each vehicle in demurrage over the past three months.

    Keeping in view the losses suffered by the businessmen, the Cabinet committee had recommended that the containers be exempted from taxes at home, he said.

    But Finance Ministry deputy spokesman Ghorzang Siyal explained since the decision had been taken in the absence of Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, the Cabinet overturned it. He said traders had to pay taxes because the committee's decision could be misused.

    Agha urged President Karzai to order the ministry to wave off taxes on the trade goods and implement the committee's decision so traders could have a sigh of relief.