Corruption in customs offices affects businesses: ACCI
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Tuesday complained the complex tax system, bureaucracy and corruption in customs offices badly affected private sector businesses.
ACCI first deputy head Khan Jan Alokozay told a news conference that the complex system of issuing licenses, collecting taxes and auditing commercial goods by several government organs and corruption in customs offices were the main problems discouraging the private sector.
In presence of Finance Ministry officials at the press conference, Alokozai said commercial goods were checked separately by governor’s offices, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the ministries of interior, public health and agriculture, representatives of provincial councils and other organs.
Going through 21 organs to get a single license was another problem facing the private sector, he added.
“We suggest that only the Ministry of Finance should check commercial goods and deploy their personnel at customs offices with representatives of other relevant organs,” he said.
He criticised the government and said “this is not the principles of business, it is like killing the business, if the president or councils do not resolve the problem, then let us close customs offices and declare jihad against law violations.”
Alokozai said he had evidence that a trader was charged 140,000 afghanis in tax and 100,000 afghanis were unnecessary collected by other government organs on commercial goods worth $20,000.
“The protection of national interest is always important to us, we never support traders who do not pay taxes, but we do support traders whose rights are violated,” he added.
Abdur Rahman Sayeed, customs director at the Ministry of Finance, said they had begun working on a plan to simplify the tax system. He said they were also trying to resolve traders’ problems and prevent corruption in customs offices.
Some traders having no significant information about paying taxes contributed to the problem, he said, adding that the Ministry of Finance would launch next month awareness-creating programme about taxes, summon letters, payment of taxes, types of taxes, date of paying taxes and other relevant information.
Launching the programme would help increase government’s revenue and resolve private sector problems, he said.
About checking of commercial goods by several organs, he said, “unfortunately this problem exists, but I have no authority to comment about other organs.”
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