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ED: Evading of oil tax

Hundreds of millions of dollars from the oil import are not paid to the government treasury, according to media reports.

About four million tons of oil is annually imported to Afghanistan, from which, the government receives tax of the only 1,300,000 tons, while nearly 2,700,000 tons enter the country without taxes.

Afghanistan imports oil mainly from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and a few from Pakistan.

The imported oil has been categorized into three types: First is the legal one from which the government receives tax, second is the oil that is imported for the Afghan security forces and the foreign troops which is exempt of paying tax, and the third one is the oil that is smuggled to Afghanistan.

Officials say that some one million ton imported oil used by the Afghan and foreign forces is free of paying tax, based on an agreement between Afghan government and the NATO-led international troops.

The government takes 180 dollars tax from each ton of oil and loses 180 million dollars every year from the free of tax oil.

Officials confirm that tens of tankers of this oil are bought by “other individuals” shortly after arriving in the border cities Hairatan, Torghondi and Aqina and they sell it in the markets.

The oil tax is an important part of the government’s revenues. The tax from the legal imported oil soars up to 230 million dollars per year, while 161 million dollars is paid to the finance ministry and some 70 million dollars is lost.

The vast corruption that is surrounding the government institution lets the traders to escape from paying tax. The oil importing companies that mostly belong to the senior government officials, parliamentarians and powerful armed individuals also use this opportunity and do not pay their taxes.

Some of the importers are said to have been linked to the border police officials who let them import oil with low quality. This reminds us President Ghani’s last statements about the vast corruption in the ministry of interior. He called the ministry as “the heart of corruption”. But this is not the only corrupt body, and corruption has roots in other institutions as well.

Fighting corruption needs a serious investigation in the government organs. There are undoubtedly honest and patriotic people who really work for the country not for themselves. The president is requested to replace the corrupt officials with any position with the honest people who are isolated and cannot find the chance of work.

Also, the foreign forces who are in Afghanistan should obey Afghan laws.

If we manage to stop corruption in only oil importing, the national treasury will receive hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

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