Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan instructed to cut the duration of customs formalities 3-4 times. An entrepreneur posted on Facebook that customs clearance took them 4 minutes instead of 4 hours.
The head of Republican Union of Employers Gagik Makaryan says entrepreneurs express their satisfaction with this process on these days.
“Formalities last shorter now. Aside from formalities, the customs services now use the method of invoice price. Formerly they identified the market price, did calculations, used a quotient. And imported goods were cleared at higher fees with its negative consequences. In other words, because the fees were higher, people paid higher taxes. This was done both in order to refill the treasury and to create unequal competition. There was a different treatment of importers of similar goods, the same product is cheaper in one place than in another, they did so to send the other importers into despair to stop bringing goods,” Gagik Makaryan said to Lragir.am.
The expert says under the previous mechanism it was already clear to importers at the border that their goods were not competitive.
Formerly it would take hours to communicate information between different customs offices, even days. The workers were lazy or intentionally delayed the process to force money out of importers. In some cases, the bureaucracy was the result of the arrangement of the working regimen of customs servants.
“Now I think that the new instructions have caused the customs servants to become faster and more responsible, avoid bureaucracy and problems. Second, what they were doing, they are already doing correctly. These obstacles often resulted from their failure to perform their duties. As a result, a company or a [customs] broker had to pay something extra, especially for quickly spoiling food,” he says.
Such practice, according to the specialist, will produce two positive results. First, the employers will not waste time. “According to Doing Business, years ago the employer spent about 1036 hours annually to write reports, stand in lines, submit them. Then this system was gradually improved. It allowed Armenia to move forward in Doing Business. There was a reform in the customs sphere but it was not sufficient. Second, if today the mechanism for monopoly drops out, the prices of goods are not increased deliberately, monopoly may disappear altogether,” Gagik Makaryan said.
According to him, in order to prevent a monopoly, it is necessary to follow that formalities are done correctly, they do not import one product under the name of another product. There are instructions in this regard too. The expert says if the instructions are performed, Armenia will be even ahead of Georgia.
“What did they do in Georgia? They stood in front of the windows of the customs services and followed how long it took, what obstacles there were, and they gradually improved this field. They even achieved a speed when formalities took 15 minutes for cars. We are already on this way. If we move forward at this pace, we will have a better service than in Georgia,” he said.
According to the expert, replacements and training of staff in customs is also important. Makaryan said the process has started, which means that people will not work in their old ways.