The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has drafted a bill that introduces criminal liability for any cases of illegal traffic and promoting smuggling, and expresses readiness to embark on consultations with the Verkhovna Rada on this matter. This was announced by Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman in an interview with The Segodnya (Today).
"We have developed a bill on the introduction of criminal liability. We will hold consultations with the Parliament in order to improve the document and adopt it. Our plan and cooperation will gain momentum", the Head of Government said.
Moreover, he expressed his assurance that the State Fiscal Service, within its powers, will not cease the process of maintaning order at the border. "They (customs officers) are now in the frontline of our struggle and will do their job with high professionalism, never stopping in fulfilling the tasks aimed to de-shadow the economy", the Prime Minister stressed.
In June 2018, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in synergy with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General's Office, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, the State Fiscal Service, and the Security Service of Ukraine developed an action plan aimed at effective combating smuggling and shadow schemes at the customs. The program was named "Ukraine without smuggling". According to various estimates, the amount of illegal traffic in Ukraine reached a level of UAH 70-100 billion, and under some commodity positions, illegal imports amounted up to 60-80%. Contraband has become a real threat not only to the state budget, but also to the development of national industries.
Commenting on the decisions made, the Prime Minister noted that the entire law enforcement and defence block demonstrated "full readiness and determination to fight smuggling". "Our collaboration will provide an opportunity to severely punish all those who are involved in trafficking. We will destroy shadow schemes and transfer each hryvnia to the budget", Volodymyr Groysman stressed at that time.
In just a few weeks after the launch of the initiative, the situation at the customs changed. As a result, the daily increase of budget revenues has made up UAH 70-80 million. At that, the cost of customs clearance per container for certain groups of goods, especially light industry, has doubled.
Meanwhile, the Government conducted a tender for the purchase of scanners that will be used at the border and will allow to carefully scan freight transport in almost automatic mode - with minimal interference by the customs officer. Scanners have been purchased with cost savings: at the initial cost of the lot worth UAH 1.3 billion, the final cost of the purchase amounted to about UAH 700 million. The savings have proved possible through the ProZorro platform.
Government officials pay special attention to curbing the smuggling of fuel and lubricants and gasoline that used to be imported under shadow schemes with whole oil-tankers. According to expert estimates, the volume of such smuggling was equal to the cost of building air defense systems in the east of the State.
The Head of Government has repeatedly emphasized that further promoting and ‘shielding’ of contraband schemes means not just plundering the country and its citizens, hampering of financing of troops and social programs, but amid the war - direct looting.