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At some Afghan customs, nearly 90 percent of goods are imported without duty: watchdog

28 Jun 2020 1TV News

At some customs in Afghanistan, nearly 90 percent of goods are imported without payment of duty, the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee said in a report Sunday.

The watchdog said that illegal interference of central and provincial government officials, Members of Parliament (MPs), and warlords determinedly influence the customs and tax administration, resulting in ongoing corrupt practices.

These corrupt practices include individual and schematized smuggling, demands for and payments of bribes, as well as extortion and threats of violence against customs and tax officials, the report said.

Bribery accusations were reported where senior officials were involved in the recruitment process, especially in customs.

The report also said that import export figures between Afghanistan and trading countries largely varies due to lack or inconsistent implementation of bilateral agreements and or MoUs. For example, UAE reported imports exports figures are four to ten times high than that of Afghanistan Customs Department. UAE’s official data show that it has exported $2.3 billion goods to Afghanistan in 2018, while Afghanistan’s data suggest $248 million.

Customs facilities such as warehouses and ASYCUDA are not connected to the internet face shortage of electricity, which affects customs electronic operations. Scanners at ports of entry and exit and weighing scales within customs compounds are not functioning, according to the report.

At some customs in the country’s west and in eastern Nangarhar province, traders themselves fill up forms determining the type and quantity of items being imported.

MEC officials said that the president had stated that 60 percent of Afghanistan’s revenues are not collected at the customs.

Meanwhile, Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for Finance Ministry said that it would implement any recommendations of MEC for reforms and prevention of corruption.

Based on MEC’s findings, three directors at Nangarhar customs have been dismissed or reshuffled in one month.

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