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Opinions & Interviews

16 Sep 2019

Вelarus, Russia to return to compensations for tax maneuver

Вelarus, Russia to return to compensations for tax maneuver

MINSK, 16 September (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia will return to the matter of compensations for the tax maneuver in the oil industry. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he met with Chairman of the State Customs Committee Yuri Senko on 16 September, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Russia’s ongoing adjustment of taxation in the oil industry had led to lower revenues from export customs duties on oil products. This is why the head of state wondered what steps the customs service was taking to compensate for the losses.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We can’t kneel before our elder brother and beg for some crumbs all the time. We have to shape our own policy in this field with all the resulting consequences. We’ve discussed it with the president of Russia many times. I think we will have to return to this matter soon in the course of adopting the joint action program.”

The State Customs Committee expects this year’s revenues to exceed last year’s. It means, the head of state responded, that ways to compensate for the losses had been found. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “We can falter or fall no matter what. We have to survive the reduction of these duties and our revenues and withstand this tax maneuver. We will certainly look for a way out of the situation together with [the Belarusian state petrochemical concern] Belneftekhim. But the customs service has to handle its own assigned tasks.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered about the customs service’s performance this year, the fulfillment of assigned tasks, and future plans. “The customs service reflects the economy to a large degree, particularly in an export-oriented country. I would like to learn what you think, what the current situation is, whether you are meeting the goals on customs duties. I know you are slightly lagging behind. What will we have at the end of the year?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.

The head of state was told that on the whole the customs service manages to meet goals to replenish the country’s budget, enable conditions conducive to doing business while maintaining proper control at the border and inside the country, and expand international cooperation.

Yuri Senko said: “Today we register an increase in traffic going across our border. It has become possible thanks to the expansion of infrastructure and the use of information technologies. We offer good conditions and attract traffic. We process about 6,000 trucks and 17,000 cars every day. Some 73,000 individuals cross the border daily.”

In January-August 2019 the central state budget received Br5.94 billion as payments controlled by the State Customs Committee, 2.4% down from the same period of last year. The decrease in revenues from export customs duties on oil products is partially attributed to Russia’s ongoing adjustments of taxation of the oil industry. Revenues from other payments controlled by the State Customs Committee continue rising. In 2019 the budget is expected to receive Br8.7 billion, 3.9% up from 2018.

The total number of offences detected by the customs service amounted to 31,000 in January-August 2019, 38% up from 22,500 in the same period of last year. As many as 129 criminal cases were opened on charges of smuggling and drug trafficking, roughly twice as many as in the same period of last year (62).

As many as 12 criminal cases were opened on charges of smuggling of weapons and ammunition across the border, three times as many as in January-August 2018. The customs service and state security agencies managed to shut down a channel used to smuggle weapons, weapon parts, and ammunition from Ukraine to Lithuania and further on to Russia via Belarus.

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