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Economic costs of Taliban’s foray; Afghanistan loses $33m in customs revenue

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan has lost a staggering $33.5 million worth of revenue in the past month after the fall of seven customs ports in porous borders to the Taliban, officials revealed on Tuesday.

Since a month, the government has lost control over Islam Qala, Torghundi, Abu Nasr Farahi, Spin Boldak, Ay-Khanoom, Dand-e-Patan and Shir Khan ports, Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.

This has crippled the government and led to a shrinking of custom revenues as half of the revenues could not have been collected, said spokesman for the Finance Ministry, Rafi Tabey.

A total of $91 million in customs revenue had been collected by the government in June but the government could only collect it 57.5 million in July.

He said that still it is unclear how the incomes of the mentioned seven customs are collecting and where are the incomes going, incomes depend on the trading and business, so if the business faces challenges then it would have a negative impact over revenues.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment officials expressed concern over the current situation in the customs offices and ports and said that traders are not willing to import goods through custom ports where the government has no control and there is mismanagement.

Acting Executive Chief of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment Shafiqullah Ataei said that unfortunately the market will be faced with a shortage of edibles and food items, if the current issue is not addressed through alternative mechanisms.

Scores of traders in Kunduz also voiced concern over the current situation in Shirkhan Bandar and said that currently imports of goods are at very low level from this port.

One of the traders Mohammad Nasim Rasuli said that most of those traders who had imported goods through Shirkhan Bandar are currently in Kabul.

Fall of custom offices and ports to the Taliban has increased concern among traders and they believe that this issue will lead to an increase of smuggling goods and embezzlement domestic revenue.

Traders insist that the government must oust Taliban from income sources areas and take its control, otherwise a high percentage of revenue will be lost as well as market and business aspects will be affected.

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