Director of the National Customs Agency General Vanyo Tanev comments for Radio FOCUS collecting revenue activities, corruption and opportunities for illegal goods importation
FOCUS: Mr. General, we can guess that the disclosure of the corrupt scheme at Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint was kind of focus of your recent conversations, but I would like now to focus our conversation rather on the real results achieved by the employees of the National Customs Agency (NCA). And since your job is more or less measured by the numbers, what are the revenues, what your agency has done, compared to the same month in the previous year?
Vanyo Tanov: Yes, that’s right. At the national conference, some of the issues discussed were just that - revenue, which is our main task; the prospects within six months and in the next months remaining to the end of the year; what was achieved in the past four months. Considering the huge work that my colleagues have made with so tense plan for the year that we have, we reported that the collected revenue in the past four months is over 215 million more than the in past period. Most importantly, there was an increase in revenue in respect of tobacco products and for fuel. And we believe that at least the first six months there were no problems in terms of revenue collection. What I said before, there is a concern for the measure to limit smoking in public places, what will be the effect. We have no our experience, but we carefully examined the experience in all countries and what were the results of the introduction of this measure. Unfortunately, in absolutely all countries in which the measure was introduced, there is a serious decline in revenue. This is something that bothers us, and this is even something that makes us think and analyze things such as from where and how to compensate any possible shortage in the first half of the year.
FOCUS: So I would like to ask you where do you see the reserves? Where are your reserves for compensation in the event that failure of the revenue plan emerges?
Vanyo Tanov: Well, it is clear that serious economic development can not be achieved within these few months, that to lead to increased revenue. There are two possibilities. One variant is if there are still some in the grey sector who fraudulently managed, for example, to evade taxes and not to bring money to the state revenue. This was analyzed company by company. There are such reserves. And the second variant is to really improve service and security along the borders, it has to be at very high level, so that, to be the country that is first country to levy duty, because it is important from third parties in which country of the European Union goods will acquire Community status. And all companies will choose where the service is good, where there are honest customs officers. So the second question concerns the issue about corruption, discipline, competence, it affects that part of the revenue. This is one of the possible ways to get extra funds.
FOCUS: It has become clear that there is ongoing disciplinary proceedings for the overall activity of Kaptain Andreevo border checkpoint. Undoubtedly, this case of corruption discovered there is very unpleasant for you. It diminishes your heavy work one way or another. And here there is no dispute. How many such cases there are? Are there any odds? What is the situation?
Vanyo Tanov: Today’s national meeting, at least the second part of it, was devoted to the situation at all border checkpoints. Unfortunately even at the moment we have information that is being processed. Some of this information is filed to law enforcement authorities as we are unable to perform such operational controls. I still receive information about corrupt practices by employees, not just at Kapitan Andreevo, and for other checkpoints as well. And we spent many hours and each of the heads of the customs offices realized that in the end, responsibilities, for those things not happen at the borders, are all theirs. And they should take such measures to ensure that no such corrupt practices wall happen again. So in this point of view, a lot will be done at the borders as technical support. Despite the lack of funds, we will try to mount CCTV everywhere, to provide appropriate technical scrutiny of customs officers to act preventively. Many tasks were assigned to the department of internal investigations.
FOCUS: The Intelligence and Investigation department?
Vanyo Tanov: Yes, they also have to contribute to prevent corrupt actions that really downplayed the enormous work that was done during these four months. Because only to look back and remember what was the winter, when the situation was quite serious, for example, in February. The Danube was frozen. There was no transport. Ports were closed. The losses were huge. And all of this has been compensated. And in the end, this plan, which is 15% growth compared to last year, was reached and overflowing with 50 million. All this against the background of these unpleasant events that happened at Kaptain Andreevo crossing, they are very demotivating for those who gave everything to achieve these results, so there will be no compromise when it is completed the disciplinary proceedings. I hope to get enough information from what is done in the investigation of this case, there will be clear and precise measures which will probably be quite serious and will be part of the staff.