Industrialists urge govt to honour vows, review tax hike
KABUL (Pajhwok): Industrialists on Sunday asked the government to honour its pledges about resolving the problems being faced by the private sector and industries.
They complained the current and previous administrations had failed to deliver on their promises about promoting domestic products and reduction in taxes.
The issues were raised at a conference titled “National Conference in Support of Afghanistan Industries: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions,” organised jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA).
Humayun Rasa, the commerce minister, said the conference was aimed at evaluating the growth challenges facing industries and industrialists and resolving them.
He said his ministry had prepared legislations on investments and industries and was also considering some regulations to provide more facilities to industrialists.
Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, the AISA chief, said industrialists apart from insecurities faced lack of land, electricity and capital. He said Afghanistan imported goods worth $8 billion in formal way and as much in informal way. “In the last one decade nothing was done for the improvement of industries.”
He urged the government to support industrialists, especially small factories’ owners. Haqjo said the Finance Ministry had recently increased taxes from two to four percent and this decision should be comprehensively reviewed due to its negative impact on the country’s economy.
Last week, the Ministry of Finance announced increasing taxes on profits and telecommunication services from two to four percent and on import of every litre of petrol, diesel and a kilogram of liquefied gas from one afghani to two afghanis.
Traders maintain they have no choice but to increase the prices of their goods which would ultimately increase burden on the public.
Khan Jan Alokozai, the ACCI first deputy head, alleged the previous and current administrations had failed to keep their promises to resolve the problems of industrialists and enhance domestic products. He added the private sector representatives had held meetings with President Ashraf Ghani many times and had shared their grievances with him.
Alokozai recalled during Daud Khan and Dr. Najibullah’s rule, more focus had been on domestic products, but in the past 14 years, no attention had been paid to this sector.
Most policies, he said, remained on papers only but none was implemented. Lack of land, he added, was a major challenge to industrialists because large swathes of land had been usurped by powerful figures.
Alokozai and Haqjo called the new taxes a heavy burden on industrialists, saying they should be revised.
Sherbaz Kaminzada, head of the Afghanistan Industrialists Union, said:” there are individuals in the government who are against development of domestic products and industries.”
He urged the government to prevent imports of low-quality goods since only 1,200 out of 3,000 factories in Afghanistan were functional and the rest had been shut down. This, he added, had left hundreds of labourers jobless.
The minister said promotion of domestic products and support to industries were among the government’s top priorities and they would address the challenges soon.
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