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Afghan Customs revenue rises despite Iran restraint

Afghan Customs revenue rises despite Iran restraint

ZARANJ: The revenue of western Nimroz province has significantly increased despite Iranian government had banned the entry of some transit trucks coming to the port, an Afghan Customs official told Customs Today here the other day.

Customs Director Wais Sultani told Customs Today, his department was established two years ago with little facilities but efforts were being made to upgrade it to modern standards.

He said eight warehouses were built on 18 acres of land and 29,000 square metres land was concreted by the World Bank (WB) at a cost of $2 millions. The merchandise, he said, was not kept in the open.

He said one of the facilities created was processing imported goods in one day while at other ports the process took three days. Computerisation of the systems and installation of laboratories are other improvements.

Sultani hoped with the installation of a weight bridge the revenue of the customs department would further soar. About 50 percent of imports, including fuel, fertilisers, plaster, cement, iron girder, food items and dairy products, from Iran come through Nimroz.

The director complained the Iranian government had banned the transit trucks coming to the province. He said they had the capacity to allow 220 transit trucks per day to enter Nimroz but the Iranian authorities allowed only 150.

If more trucks are allowed, there would be a boost in the revenue. Last year, as a result of the ban, the customs department registered a loss of 15 to 18 million afghanis on a daily basis.

The Iranian government decided in October 2012 to put restrictions on vehicles with substandard fuel tanks. As a result, more than 1,000 trucks were kept stranded on the other side of the border.

According to Sultani, the department’s revenue in the current year had been 6.5 billion afghanis, seeing a 15 percent increase over the previous year.