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Amid war on graft, Nangarhar customs revenue up by 25pc

Amid war on graft, Nangarhar customs revenue up by 25pc

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Sep 04, 2018 - 16:22

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The customs revenue of eastern Nangarhar province has significantly increased over the last three months despite a decline in trade through the Torkham port, officials say.

A crackdown on corruption, encouragement of traders and transparency in the custom affairs contributed to the surge in revenue, local authorities noted.

Khan Zaman Amarkhel, the customs director who took charge of office three months ago, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had been focused on how to improve revenue.

All other routes, which created problems in terms of for custom revenue, had been sealed, the director claimed.

Extortion by some powerful figures, preventing corruption and overseeing the custom activities helped improve the revenue, he explained.

Amarkhel, who had no documentary evidence in support of his claim, said the customs revenue previously ended up in the pockets of different individuals (officials and strongmen).

He added many officials and strongmen visited the customs office and got cleared a large amount of goods in return for nominal taxes. However, he controlled the situation after taking charge.

The official did not claim full eradication of corruption, but said the practice had been curbed to a large extent. Efforts were still underway to root out graft at all levels.

Despite a fall in trade throught the Torkham port, the revenue had gone up due to a crackdown on corruption, the director maintained.

Amarkhel was confident of support from the Nangarhra governor, the finance minister and the president for his efforts to eradicate corruption from his department.

He said the revenue he collected in June, July and August this year was significantly higher than the income for the corresponding period last year.

“The revenue we collected in last three months stood at 4,528 million afghanis, compared to 3,584 million afghanis during the same period last year, showing 25 percent surge,” he said.

He said one major problem in the past was the high tonnage scale in Torkham, where the weight of goods was often manipulated. But now a digital scale has been installed and customs office and the Ministry of Finance can monitor it.

Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokemsman Shakir Safi said around 800 cargo vehicles entered the Torkham port every day in the past but the number has come down to 200.

mds/mud

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