Traders accuse Sher Khan port enterprise of extortion
KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): A number of traders in northern Kunduz province on Sunday accused the Sher Khan dry-port enterprise of extortion, asking the government to address the issue.
The businessmen who talked to Pajhwok Afghan News warned of closing down their businesses at the port if their demand was not met.
The dry-port is located on the border with Tajikistan. Goods are imported from and exported to Tajikistan and other countries in central Asia via the port.
Haji Fahim, a trader at the commercial port, said businessmen at the port were fed up with extortion by the Sher Khan dry-port enterprise.
“We have been in a dispute with the enterprise head. We pay taxes to government, however the enterprise without providing services takes money from us.”
He said the enterprise was not supposed to charge taxes but it extorted money forcible and illegally. “We want the government to seriously look into the matter.”
Amir Mohammad, another businessman, said: “The enterprise has no proper warehouses for traders’ goods and doesn’t provide needed services; so we are obliged to avail private warehouses. The enterprise snatch money from us without giving any receipt, and if the situation continues, we will shut down our companies.”
A driver on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan route, Hakim, who imports cement to Afghanistan, confirmed the Sher Khan dry-port enterprise official extorted money from traders and cargo trucks.
However, Imamuddin Sarshakhi, acting director of the enterprise, denied all the allegations, saying: “We provide portal services and in return ask traders to pay tax based on documents.”
He said if someone was fleecing traders, they should contact the customs duty department to get punished him.
The Sher Khan dry-port is related to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries whose responsibility is to load and unload traders’ goods. But due to the bad condition of warehouses of the enterprise, traders drop off their items at private warehouses.
The accusations against the enterprise come after the enterprise workers alleged customs department officials, including the director, had been meddling in their affairs and thus paving the way for corruption.
However, Abdullah Haris, Sher Khan dry-port head, said he had no problem with any organization or department and he didn’t intervene in other department’s affairs and would not do so.
He said traders had told him the enterprise couldn’t provide services and took money from traders. “The government should address the issue of traders.”
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