Entrepreneurs, customs brokers and shipping companies have sent an appeal to Pres Yanukovych to dismiss the head of the State Customs Service Ihor Kaletkin and launch a large-scale reform of the service, said Oleksandra Kuzhel, the deputy head of Tihipko-led Strong Ukraine party, addressing a round table in Odesa Feb. 10.
Massive corruption has permeated the SCS and poses a threat to the country’s economic security, Kuzhel said. “The businessmen have, therefore, appealed to the president to replace the head of SCS and tackle rampant corruption in the service. The present heads of SCS are unable to deal with corruption at the border,” Kuzhel stressed.
According to the representatives of customs brokers and shipping companies, what’s going on in the customs looks like an open sabotage, Kuzhel said.
“The process of the customs clearance of goods is deliberately prolonged, with customs officials demanding additional information. Meanwhile, the bodies authorized to stop this lawlessness look the other way. Nobody reacts to our complaints, says Halyna Vdovina, a representative of a cargo-shipping company trade union.
The blockade of customs by officials in the Odesa sea port alone in January made a UAH500 mln dent in the budgetary revenue, The Ekonomichna Pravda observed.
If the situation continues, Kuzhel went on, Ukraine may lose its cargo shipments to Romania ports.
“With prolonged customs clearance procedures and the need to bribe Ukraine customs officials for each container of goods, Western companies have already started to by-pass our ports. Under these circumstances, foreign investors are unlikely to come to Ukraine,” Kuzhel said.
By demanding growing kick-backs and overstating the cost of imported goods, the customs make such goods more expensive for domestic consumers, Kuzhel said.