Customs income increases considerably at Umm Qasr port: Border Crossing Authority

A view of Umm Qasr Port is seen after protesters blocked its entrance, south of Basra, Iraq October 30, 2019. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

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SULAIMANI — Iraq’s Border Crossing Authority said on Friday (August 14) that the income collected from customs procedures at Basra’s Umm Qasr had increased significantly following a push by Baghdad to reassert state control at the country’s borders.

“The income on August 13 was 2.126 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.78 million) at Umm Qasr port” in taxes and customs fees, it gave as an example in a statement.

“The increase in the port’s income was as a result of implementing all the monitoring and auditing measures and rules and security inspections, especially after receiving Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s instructions,” it added.

On Saturday, the authority released the income figures for Trebil border crossing between Iraq's Anbar governorate and Jordan for the previous day, saying that it took in 2.4 billion Iraqi dinars ($2 million).

On August 10, the head of the Iraqi Border Ports Authority Omar al-Waeli said that the federal government brought in more than 100 billion Iraqi dinars ($83.8 million) in income from customs procedures at the borders during the month of July.

Militias and tribes in central and southern Iraq and the ruling political parties in the Kurdistan Region exert a high degree of control over customs procedures at the checkpoints in their areas of influence, which allows them to capture financial benefits for themselves.

Earlier in July, Kadhimi visited a border post in Diyala and the southern provinces to communicate that the effort was a personal priority, saying that the current situation robs the state of financial resources and encourages smuggling and corruption.

Discussions over reforming customs procedures on the Kurdistan Region, where the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) control the crossings with Turkey and Iran in their areas of dominance, have taken on increased prominence in ongoing budget talks between Erbil and Baghdad.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 5:35 p.m. EBL