President raises smuggling issue
He heavily criticized State customs service
During the meeting “The protection of national interests at the economic border of Ukraine” President Victor Yushchenko heavily criticized State customs service and other law enforcement bodies for inability to fight smuggling effectively. “It’s your responsibility, that Ukraine doesn’t have any effective economic border. You have sold it”, he said, according to the President`s press-office.
President also presented statistics, which say that nearly 70% of foreign goods imported to Ukraine are being smuggled costing approximately 65 billion hryvnyas total.
According to President there are few main smuggling mechanisms:
Avoidance of goods registration at the customs
Understating goods’ prices during their registration
Importing vehicles in capacity of spare parts
Payment of VAT for raw oil and related products in a form of promissory notes
Registration of fictitious import-export operations, etc.
Particularly inadequate V. Yushchenko considers measures aimed at fighting drug smuggling. According to his sources in 2005 there were 84 thousands of drug addicts in Ukraine. In 2007 their numbers grown from that point to 154 thousands. These numbers reflect negative efficiency of work, he said.
President also dwelled upon an issue of meat products’ smuggling by means of free trade areas, Donetsk region free trade area in particular. These products often have low quality and may not meet any sanitary regulations. “But if this business exists, it will not disdain to use any means”, President said.
V. Yushchenko emphasized that smuggling exists only because employees of responsible bodies cover them up. Therefore he commissioned Security service of Ukraine to appoint a separate workgroup on every smuggling mechanism mentioned and obliged it to report on their work weekly.
President criticized judges, who often make decisions harming national economic interests. In this regard V. Yushchenko charged High Council of Justice of Ukraine to investigate the cases and should the grounds be dismiss them.
Head of state conceders the work of State customs service itself and Public Prosecution of Ukraine unsatisfactory concerning low numbers of legal proceedings on smuggling. V. Yushchenko also mentioned that after the meeting some “radical Personnel rearrangements” are possible.