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‘Jalalabad shopkeepers punished with undue fines’

‘Jalalabad shopkeepers punished with undue fines’

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Sep 24, 2017 - 17:17

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Traders and shopkeepers in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province accuse revenue officers of punishing them with undue fines without providing them any services.

They also complain about increasing security threats in Jalalabad and problems in obtaining licenses from the municipality.

Traders and Goods Association in Nangarhar says around 19,000 shops are registered with the association in Jalalabad and almost all shop owners have been complaining about the mentioned problems.

Azizur Rahman Arab, deputy head of the association, told Pajhwok Afghan News that revenue officers created problems for traders who were already struggling with insecurity and obtaining licenses from the municipality.

 “Traders and their family members are subject to kidnapping, they are threatened and asked for ransom, shopkeepers and money exchangers are looted in broad daylight, this situation will collapse the businesses,” he said.

Arab said the municipality also created problems for shopkeepers in issuing them business licenses.

He said the categorization process of licenses had not been proper and municipality officials sought bribes under different pretexts.

“Another problem we face is insurance at the revenue office, whenever we apply for a license for a company or pay taxes, we are forced to accept the insurance policy despite the fact the insurance office does not provide any services to us,” he said.

Fabrics Association head in Jalalabad, Shukrullah Jalandarzai, acknowledged the problems and asked the provincial government to find solution to them.

He said licenses for opening shops on roadsides, underground or constructing multiple-storey markets had the same rate, an issue he criticized as injustice.

Meanwhile, Jalalabad shopkeepers demanded security and solution to problems regarding insurance and licenses.

Omaid Khewawal, who owns a bike repairing shop in Jalalabad, said that the license fee for a shop was suddenly increased to 3,000 afghanis from the previous just 200 afghanis.

Tamim, a grocer in Jalalabad, complained security problems haunted them amid absence of essential services. He said municipality officials took extra money from shopkeepers seeking licenses.

He said the increase in license fee and categorization of licenses allowed municipality officials to force shopkeepers into paying kickbacks.

Acting Jalalabad mayor Eng. Hakimuddin Omarkhel did not comment about corruption, but said shopkeepers should not pay bribe.

He said the categorization of licenses was a process relating to the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) and they could not change it.

“Shopkeepers should complain to the municipality about its officials who demand bribes”, he said.

Meanwhile, the governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said the acting governor had met with traders and shopkeepers and discussed with them solutions to security problems.

He said traders’ problems were heard and discussed for solution in a meeting on Saturday.

Khogyani said the traders’ complaints would also be discussed with the revenue office and legal action would be taken if any violations were found.

The complaints from traders and shopkeepers come days after doctors and drug store owners went on a strike against security problems.

mds/ma

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