Customs Need Stable Law And Skilful Customs Officers
25 April, 2012
Customs Need Stable Law And Skilful Customs Officers

Frequent changes in customs legislation and lack of professional skills in customs personnel still puzzle business in Georgia in spite of successful reforms of 2010-2011, making Georgian customs administration corruption-free and more business-friendly.

The governmental approach toward business has been fundamentally changes in 2011. A new head of Revenue Service assigned to the post in spring of 2011 conducted a very fruitful campaign developing communication between government and business through permanent consultations with business and making both tax and customs

administration more tax-payers oriented.  But integration of customs law with tax code in 2010 so as to regulate tax-related issued through one code made custom framework legislation relatively superficial and laid ground to instability of regulation. The point is that number of essential paragraphs was removed from customs code and put in different secondary legislation that is changed quite frequently as a rule. And searching for permanently changing regulations dissipated beyond framework law is a discomforting and burdensome task to business that is lost in normative acts as a consequence.

Bondo Bolkvadze, independent customs expert, approves integration of customs and tax code as an idea but he thinks that the removed paragraphs would better be put back so as to make the framework legislation more comprehensive and stable what is the most important to business.
“Unification of tax and customs codes was a good thing from administrative expenses point of view. But I disapprove that customs code became very shallow as a result, I think the code had better be more comprehensive and all key issues and provisions that must be stable and were removed from code and put in  secondary legislation be put back in the code. Secondary legislation is easier to change that enables to change some things even once per month or week. Unstable legislation is unpleasant to business.  I would like to have customs code more spacious and effective,” Bolkvadze said in the interview with Georgian Journal. 
Another key customs challenge is inexperienced customs officers. To solve the endemic corruption problem in customs administration resistant for many years Rose Government almost completely removed old  personnel from customs body and employed new staff who do not take bribes but lack professionel skills harassing business during customs procedures. Some businessmen even joke that they would like to have back the old officers who used to solve the problem for GEL 50 instantly rather than spend hours with inexperienced greenies for time is very important to business.
Bolkvadze agrees that lack of professional skills in customs officers is one of the key challenges Georgian Revenue Service [incorporating both tax and custom administration after reforms of 2007 based on the analogy of  similar successful services in several EU states] must solve but  approves governmental policy of changing cadres  by almost by 95% believing that it was impossible to combat corruption otherwise.
“Customs reforms and procedures moved forward very much in 2011 and 2010  from service point of view as its priority was focused on tax-payers and some kind of common satisfaction was achieved in business circles, however there are some issues that still remain problematic: for example improvement of professional skills of customs personnel. There is deficit of skills at the moment as far as there were fundamental reforms customs recently and about 95% of personel was changed and now average experience of them is about 2 years and 6 months or less. There are some obstacles that are removed in 1-2 hours but training of new staff to improve their skills can bring to better results. This change was a good step for corruption cannot be removed otherwise, old generation might teach only corruption to the new one who face deficit of experience but they manage their task whatsoever,” Bolkvadze said in the interview with Georgian Journal. 
According to him, bribing customs officers to solve the problem instantly was handy to big fishes like transportation companies with an expansive chain of channels but small business who imported things once a quarter and had no connections was discriminated and had to stay in demurrage for three days.
“Corruption and so called GEL 50 deals were actual when the total corruption was prohibited and everything was put in frameworks of law but the law was so unclear that caused delays and this GEL 50 was seriously a very good tool to get through difficulties. But new Customs Clearance Zones (CCZ) introduced in 2010-2011 and offering one-stop-shop principle for customs clearance offers a really good high standard service, private sector seems quite happy, importers submit only documents and can relax; they can enjoy excellent comforts in cafes and bars,” Bolkvadze elaborated.
However business claim the state-based CCZ fixes high prices and it ousted private customs clearance terminals off the market through state pressure. Bolkvadze downplays he monopolization theory as customs clearance procedures falls in the state responsibility and it did not do this before for there was no infrastructure. But Bolkvadze finds the CZZ tariffs really high that counter the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that includes Georgia as its member state. According to him, the fee tariffs were defined by Georgian government while the tariff policy should be based on the WTO recommendations advising that any fee for service rendered by the state to the private sector should not exceed the service cost.


Other Stories
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
Mziuri Park in Tbilisi to be renovated soon
It was the dream of prominent Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze that when the original Mziuri park was constructed and opened in 1892 that it should be a park for children,
Winemakers to produce Kvanchkara in its place of origin - Racha
Khvanchakara is a semi-sweet Georgian red wine which originates from Racha, in the western part of Georgia. Kvanchkara is made of two types of grape Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli.
The level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported has increased
The National Wine Agency of Georgia has recently published statistical information about the level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported between January and July, 2018.
New fire engines to be Manufactured in Georgia
The Acting Head of the Emergency Management Agency Shalva Khutsishvili said that the old Zili fire engines (which were made in the USSR) will be phased out and replaced with new ones, manufactured in Georgia.
Georgia witnesses a record number of tourists
The Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistical information about international visits to Georgia.
Canadian businessman plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro
Canadian businessman Vadim Malishev plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro resort, Guria, in the western part of Georgia.
Coffee Factory will open in Tbilisi in October
The first coffee factory (which will be located on the Kakheti highway) in Tbilisi will open in October.
Places in Georgia where real estate is the most expensive
The real estate market in Georgia is growing annually. In Tbilisi as well as other regions of Georgia new developments are increasingly taking place.
How much does a vacation cost in Tbilisi?
It is the middle of summer and those who have not yet taken a vacation are looking for an appropriate place for sure!
The price for extreme sports in Georgia
Georgia offers a variety of options to extreme sport lovers.
The number of Georgians who own property abroad increases
The number of foreign properties owned by Georgians is increasing.
How much does Taxi cost in Tbilisi?
Stories how Taxi drivers try to deceive passengers and charge them with more money than they should pay are known for everybody all over the world.
What are the highest paid areas in Georgia
According to the data collected by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in the first quarter of 2018 the highest paid jobs in Georgia are found in the financial and insurance fields.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange