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Paktia traders threaten to tie up businesses

Paktia traders threaten to tie up businesses

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Apr 16, 2017 - 16:56

GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Traders, industrialists and wholesalers in southeastern Paktia province on Sunday complained they were paying taxes to both  the government and the Talibaninfo-icon and warned of closing down their businesses.

At a joint press conference in Gardez, Paktia’s capital, the speakers warned traders and industrialists would lockdown their stop activities if their problems were not solved.

Abdul Nasir Alimyar, who heads Paktia chapter of the Afghanistaninfo-icon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Taliban in Ghazni and Logar provinces had imposed 5,000 afghanis tax on each trader.

He also complained about what he said mistreatment of traders at entry gates to Gardez city. He said a businessman was seriously beaten up at one of the gates on Saturday.

“The Taliban in Tangi area of Logar and Ramak and Tasang areas of Ghazni give bills to cargo vehicles and charge each vehicle 4,000 to 5,000 afghanis, if a driver denies giving the money, the Taliban either torch his vehicle or damage his goods,” Alimyar said.

The traders also complained they had not been provided services by the government, compared to the tax they paid to it.

They said the municipality should collect revenues related it itself, not by a contractor.

Ismael Dildar, Paktia Industrialists Association head, said they were struggling with many problems as militants extorted money from traders while the government collected taxes from them.

“Government officials are unconcerned about our problems. We pay taxes to both the government and the Taliban, only poor people suffer in such a situation,” he said.

Haji Abdur Rahim, a national businessman, also said the current situation was unacceptable. He said traders should be at least provided basic facilities in return of the taxed they paid.

“If they (both government and Taliban) do do not provide us facilities in return for the taxes, they should not at least create problems for us.”

“We can pay taxes to only one side, not to both or more, we ask the government to take serious measures for our security and prevent illegal extortions,” he said.

Gardez Mayor Esmatullah Khalid said the municipality could collect its revenue on its own or through a contractor in line with the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) rules.

“Taking tax at entry gates by a contractor is to avoid engaging municipality workers multiple activities,” he said.

About the beating of a businessman at the entry gate, Khalid said the perpetrators of the incident had been arrested and brought to justice. He said his office prevented any kind of illegal money extortion.

The governor’s spokesman, Abdullah Hasrat, said taxes were taken from traders under the law.

About militants forcing traders into paying money, he said: “We are in contact with governors of neighboring provinces to resolve the problem jointly.”

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said they had shifted their customs office from Spin Boldak border town of Kandahar province to Deh Yak district of Ghazni province due to security problems.

He said the Taliban only took money from a limited number of companies which imported fuel to the country.

He said robbers disguised as Taliban were involved in extortion and that the Taliban would investigate the issue.

mds/ma

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