On September 5, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Minister of Finance Oleksandr Danyliuk started the operation of mobile groups for preventing and detecting violations of customs regulations. This step is a part of the comprehensive reform at the customs which is being jointly implemented by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. The first 10 mobile groups have departed to their assigned locations in Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Transcarpathian and Volyn regions. 10 more groups will start their operations in the border regions in two weeks.
What was the problem?
The Ministry of Finance holds regular meetings with business and experts striving to elaborate optimal solutions for the implementation of reforms. During these meetings companies most often complain about corruption and smuggling operations at the customs, long waiting lines, complicated customs procedures and their lack of transparency, biased approach in customs clearance etc.
According to the order of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance founded a Target Center for the Prevention of Corruption at the Customs and 20 joint mobile groups to tackle corruption at the customs.
How is it supposed to work?
The Center which was opened two weeks ago will be responsible for analysis and investigation and should detect risk operations at the customs. Afterwards, it shall instruct the respective mobile group to visit the respective customs office, to check the situation and to react appropriately to any violations detected. The mobile groups, each of them consisting of 4 persons (two employees representing the State Fiscal Service and one employee representing the Border Service and the National Police respectively) will be operating 24/7 on the entire territory of Ukraine. They are authorized to enter all customs control zones and clearance points, to stop vehicles for control, to decide on customs examination / re-examination etc.
Also, the mobile groups should arrange full photo- and video-coverage of all their activities. It shall help prevent misuse of office and properly control the work of the mobile groups.
The employees working in the mobile groups are properly motivated, since their salary starts from 30 thousand hryvnas, which is the tenfold of the salary of a low-rank customs officer. The leader of a mobile group receives a salary of 40 thousand hryvnas, the salary of the Head of the Target Center is 50 thousand hryvnas. Such a remuneration has made it possible to hire proper people and to reduce the risk of corruption, hence diligent business has nothing to be afraid of.
What should it deliver?
In the opening ceremony for the launch of the mobile groups the Minister of Finance noted that the mobile groups have a task which is pretty simple and pretty complicated – reduce corruption and smuggling violations at the customs. “This is of utter importance not only for business, but also for common citizens, since the customs accounts for almost 50% of all revenues collected by the State Fiscal Service. The increase of these revenues means an additional resource which can be used to increase salaries and social welfare payments”, O. Danyliuk pointed out.
The Ministry of Finance wants to be sure that the mobile groups will be operating in an effective and transparent way; public control and feedback are the best tools to ensure this. Please sebd your comments and proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org
The next steps will refer to the further implementation of the already adopted decisions meant to improve the customs operations:
•Photo- and video-coverage of customs examinations. The result: more comprehensive control over the customs officers and reduction of corruption;
• Automatic distribution of customs declarations for clearance. The result: customs officers won’t be able to manipulate the documents and choose what goods they prefer to handle. This shall significantly reduce corruption;
•Single-Window Procedure started. The result: customs procedures have been made significantly simpler and faster, corruption has been reduced;
• It is planned to found a Center for Pricing Information at the Ministry of Finance and a Monitoring Center to control the customs value.