First Published: 2015-10-12

Traders in Basra, protesting against the tax discrimination in favor of Kurdistan

More than ten thousand vehicle pile up in the streets of ports after the lifting of the sales tax to five-fold.

BASRA, Iraq - Tens of traders and importers of Iraqis gathered Monday in front of the ports of Basra to protest the decision to raise the sales tax in the southern ports of three to 15 percent, which is excluded from the northern province of Kurdistan outlets.

And embarked visited financial application sales tax decision since the first of August, in support of the country's budget austerity that suffer from the impact of declining oil revenues sharply.

Dozens of demonstrators chanted "No to both tax" and "will not Tsergna O Zebari," referring to Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The ministry decided to raise the rate of customs duty, but similar protests prompted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to wait until the submission of a comprehensive study.

He said Morteza lipodeca member of the Basra Governorate Council, and chairman of the border crossings, "The prime minister instructed the Ministry of Finance to wait in the application of the tariff law until the preparation of a comprehensive study, but the Ministry of Finance continued to impose a sales tax and filed from three to 15 percent, which led to confusion economic port in the south. "

And it accumulated more than ten thousand cars in the streets of the port because of the high amounts that must be paid by the importer.

It referred to the existence of other taxes imposed on the import of cars as well as sales tax.

According to an official in taxes, with the SUV, worth 60 million dinars car (about 50 thousand dollars) were paid tax and a half million ($ 1,200), but now it has become 16 million dinars (about 13.3 thousand dollars).

Zebari accused the demonstrators and law enforcement on the southern ports and leave the ports in the northern Kurdistan region, which could cause paralyze trade movement in the south and the recovery in the territory under the autonomy.

And he confirmed member of the Finance Committee in Parliament Majda al-Tamimi said, "What is litigation by the reality of taxes from the south outlets now up to 25 percent versus three percent in the north."

"The tax is applied to the ports of Basra has not carried out on the North outlets."

It is said that other border crossings in the country's west and north-west, such as Trebil, newborn and Rabia are still closed.

And the opinion of a senior official in the Customs, who declined to be named, said the decision to raise the sales tax "damaged the country's economy and its citizens" alike.

Khalid Saadi and see a car dealer, take part in the protests, "The purpose of the tax is the closure of the southern ports and ports revitalize the North."

The witness stated that the backlog of thousands of cars in the streets of the port, including dedicated to government departments and other cars belonging to the popular crowd forces fighting alongside the security forces against the organization of the Islamic state.

He pointed to the ferry, one of the importers, be aware that some of his colleagues began to transform his goods to Iranian ports and one introduced by land across the province of Kurdistan outlets that still charge three percent.

Tamimi said that the Finance Committee in the Parliament agreed with the finance minister earlier that applies in the province, what is applied in Basra, "but he did not keep his promise."