Kandahar pump stations closed to protest tax hike
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Petrol pumps’ owners on Tuesday shut down their filling facilities to protest an increase in income tax by the provincial Income Tax Department.
But officials rejected their complaints, saying the pump owners had been refusing to pay taxes for the last few years to the revenue department.
Haji Masoud Akhunzada, the Petrol Pumps Owners Union (PPOU) head, told Pajhwok Afghan News since last night as many as 137 stations had been closed to protest the tax hike.
He said the owners could not pay the increased income tax and that the government collected taxes manually instead of collecting them in a standard way.
He said taxes on petrol stations should be levied based on their revenues. According to Akhunzada, petrol stations in Kandahar had little income than those in capital Kabul, but they were equally charged.
Azim Khan Ahmadzai, the Income Tax Department head, said the petrol pump owners were powerful individuals and they had not been paying taxes over the past seven years, although informed thought media and other channels about tax payments.
He rejected the claim that extra money was charged as tax, saying every petrol pump had been asked to pay taxes in line with the relevant law.
The closure of petrol stations has landed local residents in trouble. Mohammad Anwar, a taxi driver, said since morning he had been in search of petrol.
He said the price of one litre petrol jumped to 85 afghanis from the price of 41 afghanis due to the strike.
Deputy Governor Abdul Ali Shamsi said negotiations with the striking petrol pump owners were underway find out a solution to the issue.
He, however, termed the closure of petrol pump station a mafia type action and said the authorities concerned had been tasked with preventing fuel sale on a high rate.