Hairatan port traders accuse govt of dual-faced policy
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Traders on Monday claimed their businesses at the Hairatan dry port in northern Balkh province would come to a standstill if the central government did not change its dual-faced policy toward the port.
The traders, including members of the Balkh Chamber of Commerce, told a press conference here that the central government had adopted a dual-faced policy toward the Hairatan port over the past one and a half years.
They also said the government had increased import duty on commercial goods arriving at the port; something they said was unacceptable to them.
Mohib Trade Company official, Asadullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News their businesses had declined to a great degree over the past two years.
He said his company had been previously importing food items, like flour, and steel, but its business had confined to importing steel only.
He said all affairs at the Hairantan port were performed in line with the law and there was no tendency towards smuggling and evading taxes while such things were common at other ports.
The trader said the government had recently increased duty on imported goods against the will of the traders.
A representative of Haroon enterprise, Mohammad Sharif, told Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of their press conference that business activity at the Hairatan port had declined by 80 percent.
He said other dry ports were rife with corruption and the government’s policy toward the Hairatan port had forced many traders to wind up their businesses.
He said imports of food items equaled to nothing through the port amid decreasing imports of steel and cement.
He said two years ago, he would be able to sell 700 tonnes of steel before empting them from trucks on a daily basis at the dry port, but now there was no buyer for his 4000 tonnes of steel dumped there.
Sharif linked this situation to smuggling of goods through other ports of the country. Such smuggled goods were sold at lower prices, affecting formal businesses, he explained.
Despite that, he said, the government had increased duty on imported goods, multiplying their problems.
He said if the government did not implement uniform policy across all ports, business activities in northern Afghanistan would come to a standstill.
Balkh Chamber of Commerce head Arsh Yunusi confirmed the problems mentioned by traders at the Hairatan port, saying the government was responsible for these problems.
He said the government had increased import duty without consulting traders and it was an illegal act.
He said the government had promised in written form that changes to import duty would be brought in accordance with the wishes of traders. He said the duty had been increased against international rules.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.