Pump stations reopen as owners call off strike
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Owners of pump stations in southern Kandahar province on Saturday announced an end to their strike, agreeing to pay taxes for the past seven years.
After talks, pump station owners and provincial authorities agreed on setting up a committee to decide the tax rate. The filling stations will stay open to serve the public.
On Tuesday, pump owners shut their facilities to protest an increase in the income tax rate by the provincial government. But officials rejected their complaints, saying the pump owners had been refusing to pay taxes for the last few years.
Haji Massoud Akhundzada, the Petrol Pumps Owners’ Union (PPOU) head, told Pajhwok Afghan News 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 still used manual tax-collecting procedures. Taxes on pump stations be levied on the basis of their revenues, he demanded.
On the other hand, Revenue Director Azim Khan Ahmadzai alleged the filling station owners had not been paying taxes over the past seven years, although they had been reminded repeatedly of their obligation.
He rejected the claim that extra money was charged in the names of income tax, saying every petrol pump had been asked to pay duties in line with the relevant law.
The closure of pump stations landed local residents in trouble. Mohammad Anwar, a taxi driver, said he had been in search of petrol since morning. The price of one litre of petrol jumped to 85 afghanis from 41afs.
Deputy Governor Abdul Ali Shamsi said negotiations with the striking petrol pump owners were underway to find a solution to the issue. He, however, called the closure of petrol pump station a mafia-type action.
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