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Lorry drivers stage protest in Mazar-i-Sharif

Lorry drivers stage protest in Mazar-i-Sharif

Jul 15, 2014 - 21:16

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Some 150 lorry drivers on Tuesday staged a protest rally in the capital of northern Balkh province against the municipality for what they called charging heavy taxes at high security areas.

The drivers, who supplied construction materials for new buildings, gathered in front of the provincial council office in Mazar-i-Sharif. They said municipality workers charged 500 afghanis each truck entering high security zones in the city.

One of the protesting drivers, Sifatullah, said the municipality had increased the tax from 20 afghanis in recent past to 500 afs, which he said hit their businesses hard.

Another driver Ahmadullah told Pajhwok Afghan News their strike was against ‘double tax’ they had been forced to pay. He said nowhere in the world tax was charged for a second time on the same goods.

He said they paid another 500 afs to the ministry of mines for extracting concrete.

The protesting drivers warned they would collectively stop supplying bricks and concrete for under construction buildings if the municipality refused to decrease the tax.

Provincial council head Dr. Mohammad Afzal also said the drivers paid tax twice for their supplies. He said pubic representatives were trying to raise the issue with the municipality and find a legal solution.

But municipality officials said the tax was legal and taken in line with quantity of the materials supplied.

Deputy Mayor Eng. Jan Mohammad said the Cabinet had approved a law that allowed 50 afghanis tax on 1000 bricks and 50 afs tax on one square metre concrete.

He said the municipality had the responsibility to enforce the law. He said they had sought two days from the drivers through the mediation of council members to refer the issue to Kabul.