Kandahar customs revenue up by 2.2b afghanis
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Some residents and traders have criticised the performance of the transport and customs departments of southern Kandahar province, but officials of the said departments claim their revenue has increased due to better management.
Both transport and customs directors on Tuesday provided information to people during a meeting about their performance. But the two officials faced a volley of questions from participants of the meeting.
Kandahar Customs director Saleh Mohammad Nikzad said his department had collected 4.9 billion afghanis, showing a 2.2 billion afghanis increase over last fiscal year’s 2.7 billion.
He said the customs department in 2014 had collected only 2.18 billion afghanis in revenue. The fiscal years ends on December 22, 2015
Nikzad linked the increase in customs revenue to reforms in his department, the prevention of tax evasion and other improvement in their activities.
He said the customs department also controlled the quality of goods as they had returned 1,500 packages of low quality medicines imported from Pakistan and destroyed thousands of expired hen eggs.
Meanwhile, Najib Ahmadi, the Kandahar transport director, said his department had collected 150 million afghanis revenue from five ports of the province. He claimed the revenue collected this year increased by 29 percent compared the returns in 2014.
He called proper operations of scales, prevention of overloads, overseeing ports and reforms in the administration of the department as main reasons behind the surge in revenue.
The transport department had closed down eight transport companies after failing to provide standard services, he said, adding that a number of other transport companies providing better travel services to Maiwnad, Zheri, Dand and Shah Wali Kot districts had been registered with the department.
Ahmadi confirmed some problems remained unaddressed in the transport sector and said the Kandahar municipality had promised to build 40 bus stands in Kandahar City for better transport services to citizens.
However, some people and businessmen criticised the two departments for what they said poor performance.
Haji Ahmad Wali Hottak, a trader in Kandahar city, said the reward and punishment system had not been used by the two departments whenever their officers had committed any crime
He said some traders had been importing goods through illegal ways, damaging businesses of other traders.
A civil society activist, who wished not to be named, said the transport department did not control substandard and low quality food items from imported to Kandahar. “There is no laboratory to check medicines or food items in Kandahar ports,” he added.
In response to people’s questions, the Kandahar customs director said checking quality of food items and medicines was the responsibility of the Public Health Department.
Nikzad said the Ministry of Public Health had promised opening a standard laboratory for testing the quality of imported food and drugs but no action had been taken so far in this regard.
“Controlling illegal imports of goods along the 560-kilometer border share with Pakistan is a difficult job, but we in coordination with security forces are trying to control them,” the official added.
He said officers involved in corruption were being identified and would be taken to justice.
Transport Director Najib Ahmadi said his department in coordination with the public works departments had prevented trucks from overloading.
Governor Hamayon Azizi said people had the right to question the performance of all government officers including him. But he said that the people also have responsibilities.
He added the activation of a laboratory was important in Kandahar and the Ministry of Public Health should provide it. If the ministry cannot provide it then the private sector would invest in it, he said.
Azizi added he had noted problems people were complaining about and he would share them with the officials concerned.
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