The Afghan government has lost 2.7 billion Afs (over $33 million) in customs revenue over the last four weeks as key border towns have fallen to the Taliban during this period, an official from the Ministry of Finance said.
Over the past month, the government has lost control of key border towns including Islam Qala in Herat, Abu Nasr Farahi in Farah, Spin Boldak in Kandahar, Ai Khanum in Takhar, Dand Patan in Paktia and Shirkhan in Kunduz province.
The Finance Ministry said that the government has no control over seven customs departments in border towns.
The Islam Qala customs area is one of the biggest trade gateways between Afghanistan and Iran and has been under Taliban control for the last 20 days.
Rafi Tabe, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said the collections from Jawza (May 22 to June 22, 2021) was 7.3 billion (at least $91 million) but this was reduced to 4.6 billion Afs ($57 million) in Saratan (June 23 to July 23).
“The customs revenue is dependent on trading. It will have a negative impact on revenue if there are issues in trading,” he said.
Private sector representatives said the issues around the border towns have affected traders’ willingness to import goods to the country through these gateways.
“The market will face lack of commodities and necessary goods. We will face a worrisome situation if this is not prevented through necessary mechanisms,” said Shafiqullah Ataee, acting CEO of the Chamber of Trade and Investment.
Some investors in Kunduz said the imports through Shir Khan Port, a key trade gateway to Tajikistan, are significantly low.
“Those who imported (goods) through Shir Khan Port are not here right now. Most of them are in Kabul,” said Mohammad Nasim Rasuli, an investor in Kunduz.
Investors suggested that the government should take control of income-generating border towns to prevent further harm to importers.
This comes as there is a 50 percent increase in commodities prices, and fuel prices in local markets are increasing every day.