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Extortion issue at Torkham resolved, say traders

Extortion issue at Torkham resolved, say traders

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Apr 22, 2019 - 15:53

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Traders in eastern Nangarhar province say their four-year-old issue of extorting money from goods carrying vehicles at the Torkham township has been resolved, thanks to the provincial government’s efforts.

Flanked by the governor and provincial council members, the traders told a press conference in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, yesterday that the prices of food and non-food items decreased after the extortion issue was resolved.

Nangarhar Industry and Mining Chamber head Haji Toor Malang on the occasion that they had been facing the issue for the last four years and its solution prevented corruption and led to reduced prices of goods and vehicle rent.

Similarly, Nangarhar Traders Union president Haji Zalmai said a special system should be developed to permanently resolve the extortion issue. He said commercial goods carrying vehicles were previously not allowed to proceed until they paid extra money to customs officials and others.

 Governor Mahmood Miakhel said previously illegal unions of drivers, individuals, tribal people and some others would illegally extort money from drivers of goods carrying vehicles under different pretexts to allow them to proceed.

These illegal actions would delay the departure of goods carrying vehicles at the Torkham port and would result in hundreds of thousands of afghanis losses to traders.

He said the drivers union was dismantled and goods carrying vehicles run in the name of different individuals and tribes were prevented. He said the move paved the ground for 4500 vehicles to proceed without restrictions and saved from 135 million to 150 million afghanis of traders’ revenue.

The governor said all vehicles stranded at the Torkham Township were allowed to proceed last night and no goods carrying vehicle remained at the border crossing.

Provincial council member Ajmal Omar said previously each vehicle had to pay unto 100,000 Pakistani rupees in bribe to proceed. He said government officials who were complicit in the corruption should be introduced to the attorneys.

Meanwhile, Nangarhar customs director Omar Momand said despite a five percent decline in trade activity during the ongoing fiscal year their revenue surged by 23.5 percent mainly due to anti-corruption measures and transparency in customs affairs.

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