Revenue up by 7pc, minister tells Wolesi Jirga
KABUL (Pajhwok): Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi on Monday told Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament that revenue collected from taxes has increased and measure have been taken to ensure transparent collection of taxes.
The Wolesi Jirga summoned finance minister to brief the house about his absence in the meetings of economic commission, recent increase in taxes and decline in government revenue and value of Afghani currency.
Hakimi termed reports about decline in government revenue as baseless and said that there was seven percent increase in revenue in the 1st five months of the ongoing year as compared to the 1st five months of previous year.
He said the ministry had taken steps by introducing advanced system of revenue collection and brought necessary reforms to the custom departments across the country.
Last month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) established a computerized system for revenue collection.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Mia Gul Maqsood Sabit, secretary of custom and revenue departments, and Esa Khan Turab, deputy director of the Afghanistan Central Bank.
Najibullah Wardak, director of custom and revenue department, said the new system would connect revenue departments of the country with the Central Bank.
He said up till now revenue was collected manually which led to massive corruption and waste of time. The official said that Ministry of Finance had planned various new programs to bolster performance of the ministry.
The finance minister told the house that now the businessmen could deposit their tax money by sending their bank account numbers through SMS.
Hakimi said tax on business has not been increased, but businessmen who did not pay taxes has now been registered and asked to pay taxes.
Earlier, he said the numbers of small business were 387 in the 7th municipality district, but fresh investigations showed that the number had soared to 3,457.
About his absence from the Wolesi Jirga’s economic commission meeting, the minister said due to his engagements in cabinet and council of ministers meetings, he was unable to attend the commission meetings.
Haji Mohammad Hashim, head of the economic commission, said no positive change had been noticed in the performance of the ministry, he said currently 80 percent goods entered to the country without taxation.
Samiullah Samim, a lawmaker from Farah province, said Iran claimed exporting $4 million goods to Afghanistan but Afghan officials said the goods imported from Iran valued $1.5 million in the previous year.
The lawmaker lamented over the difference in the figures and asked the government to reveal facts and punish the officials involved in the matter.
Members of Wolesi Jirga did not find Hakimi’s comments satisfactory and allowed him to go and join his emergency meetings, however, the house decided to summon the official next Saturday.
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