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70pc Jalalabad residents refuse to pay garbage tax

70pc Jalalabad residents refuse to pay garbage tax

Jun 30, 2020 - 22:55

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The Jalalabad Municipality incurred at least 136 million afghanis loss last year when 70 percent residents did not pay Garbage Tax.

According to the municipality, at least 10,000 houses out of 32,000 paid Garbage Tax last year and the remaining 70 percent denied the payment.

The Municipality said it collected nearly 25 million afghanis in Garbage Tax last solar yearinfo-icon and added had the remaining 70 percent people paid the tax, the total amount would have been at least 160 million afs.

Lack of trust over the municipality, high taxes, lack of public awareness and some other reasons are to blame for people’s denial to pay the tax.

A public opinion conducted by Pajhwok Afghan News also showed that people who denied Garbage Tax payment did not trust the municipality.

Garbage Tax collected by municipality

According to Jalalabad Municipality information, available with Pajhwok Afghan News, 32,276 homes are formally registered with the municipality.

The Municipality, however, collected Garbage Tax from 9,648 homes during previous solar year and collected 24,758,748 afghanis in Garbage Tax.

Of the total registered homes, only 30 percent or 29,8 homes paid Garbage Tax and the remaining 70 percent homes owed 13,62,848 afghanis.

Looking at the statistics, the municipality suffered millions of afghanis losses every year and thus the rehabilitation programs and other development projects could not be completed or initiated.

Municipality procedure

Pajhwok Afghan News got access to the Garbage Tax Document which shows the houses have been divided in to different categories ranging from multi-storey concrete homes to small and mud made homes.

According the Municipality rules, luxurious homes should pay 950 afghanis per each cubic meter area and a mud-made old home should pay 200 afghanis annually.

Municipality has its own teams to measure the size of every home on cubic metre and they do so in the beginning of every year.

Why people deny paying Garbage Tax

Pajhwok Afghan News conducted a survey to get answer to this question that why people deny paying the tax. Forty residents of different municipality districts were asked this question.

According to the opinion poll, of 40 people, 24 said they paid their sewerage tax and nine of them said they paid the tax because the municipality officials had to ask them to pay the tax.

Three persons said they paid the garbage tax because they aware about the tax while 12 people paid the tax because they believed that the municipality will spend the amount on renovation and rebuilding of the city.

 Sixteen persons in the opinion poll said they did not pay the Garbage Tax. Six of them said that municipality did not ask them for the payment while 10 others said they did not trust the municipality that it would spend the amount on rehabilitation of the city.

In addition, the categorization of houses in tax payment causes corruption as municipality employee’s visit homes ask them for extra money and increase or decrease the tax amount on their own.

Residents complained that the municipality spared people who gave them money while those refusing to pay bribe were charged higher amount and therefore people did not trust the municipality and avoided tax payment

The lack of trust in municipality officials and provision of unfair services are other reasons that people do not pay tax to municipality.

Qari Taj Mohammad, a resident of the second police district of Jalalabad City, the provincial capital, said: “After five to six years, the municipality cleans our streets when rain waters enter our homes.”

Maliyar Niazai, an inhabitant of 5th police district, who paid the cleanliness tax, said the municipality did nothing to keep clean roads and environmentinfo-icon.

Dr. Nasir Kamawal, a member of the Provincial Council, who denies the tax, said they could not see something done by the municipality around them, but it was asking for tax.

He told Pajhwok, “The municipality should offer its services effectively. The procedure by which taxes are paid should be clear, so a compromise between the employee and the house owner is avoided.”

Meanwhile, civil societyinfo-icon activists said the municipality has not been able to offer services to citizens, prompting the majority of people not to pay the tax.

Abdul Latif Mal, head of civil society’s association’s council in the eastern zone, said: “Municipality has the right to collect the tax from people after offering necessary services.”

According to him, people are not willing to pay taxes as they don’t see required services from the municipality side and they say their tax is lost to corruption.

He said people did not believe their money would be used rightly, thus refusing to pay the tax.

Zabihullah Zmray, a former provincial council member and a tribal elder in Jalalabad, said the municipality has failed in terms of implementing the law. “We have an acting mayor from the past one year, so how can we address people’s issues.”

He said the municipality did not offer required services thus some families were unwilling to pay their tax. He believed if the municipality offered necessary services to citizens, then people would pay the tax timely to the municipality.

Municipality’s response

The Jalalabad municipality said due to lack of executive powers, most of people did not pay the cleanliness tax and the municipality could not take the tax from people forcibly.

Hashmatullah Jabarkhel, municipality’s city governance department head, told Pajhwok they collected garbage tax from homes based on a special procedure through which no one could take extra money.

He said collection of the tax took place through a notebook available with each house owner.

What could be the solution?

According to observers, if the municipality officials provided essential services to citizens and in return citizens encouraged to cooperate with the municipality in collecting revenue, it will help clean and develop the city.

Abdul Latif Mal Shinwari, a lecturer at Nangarhar University, suggested that the municipality should provide better services to the public, monitor its workers and provide explanation to public about the cleanliness tax.

Officials of the Jalalabad municipality also said if the tax was collected 100 percent, they would have special plans to spend the amount on construction work in each district based on a special plan.

Hashmatullah Jabarkhel, municipality official, told Pajhwok that they annually collected information from police districts about how many roads, canals, culverts and other areas needed repair so they devise plan and work on the money collected.

He said many of their plans were incomplete because  the tax was not collected fully. “If all the money is collected, so the plans will certainly be implemented.

Yousef Zarifi – Bershna Laton


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