Scale operators at Hairatan collect toll, but don’t give us receipts: Truckers

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 03:21 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 86 times

 Some drivers complain that they are forced to make undocumented payments in high tonnage scale at Hairatan dry port in the northern Balkh province.
They say the operators of the scale ask them to pay the toll, but don’t give them official receipts.
Due to rampant corruption in the country’s freight weighing stations, Afghanistan’s High Economic Council decided in December 2017 to transfer control of some high tonnage scales, including Hairatan port’s scale, from the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Traders and drivers say the amount of money they pay at the key northern port is different from day to day.
Jalil, a driver, told The Heart of Asia: “These payments go to the pockets of local officials because neither a receipt is given to drivers nor is the amount of payments specific. The money is paid as per the agreement of both sides.”
A security source from the port reveals to The Heart of Asia that drivers were not being asked to pay the money when Balkh police chief along with some police visited the scale last Saturday.
The revenue collected from the cargo weighing station at Hairatan port is embezzled by strongmen who flex muscles with the central government and have special representatives posted in the revenue centers, the source alleged, saying that high tonnage scales in other provinces have been shut down, but the one in Hairatan is still operating.
Meanwhile, Mehdi Rohani, the MoPW spokesperson, told a press conference a few days ago that the control of high tonnage scales has been transferred to the Ministry of Finance. Nonetheless, the MoF is unwilling to provide explanation for the issue.
“Truckers pay money at the port as per their load. More load means more money, or otherwise. There are no instances where overloaded vehicles have been stopped and turned back. They pay more money, and then they are allowed,” Hamidullah, another driver, told The Heart of Asia.
According to him, the toll for 20 ft and 40 ft trailers changes every night, and each driver has to pay from 3,000 AFN to 20,000 AFN.
The Ministry of Finance initially promised to talk to The Heart of Asia, but later on refused to say anything despite several attempts.
Musafir Quqandi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, said the issue did not belong to them, nor have received any complaints from traders.

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 March 2018 03:25

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