We Hope This Will Be the First and Last Unlawful Obstacle

  • Interview - 10 August 2017, 21:04
The founder of Dry Marketing, a marketing professional, who started importing bananas since last December has reported that the compressors of the refrigerators in which the bananas are stored have been damaged. He says it was done intentionally because some people are trying to prevent them from importing bananas. Lragir.am talked to Vahram Mirakyan about the issue.

Mr. Mirakyan, what have the law enforcement bodies found out?

The expert came, took a sample, our first supposition was correct, they had poured sulfur acid, they took it away for a test. We still can’t assess the damage, they poured [it] into the radiators, it was spoiling them so far. I don’t think the damage was big. However, we called the police not because of damage but it’s a matter of climate. They did this today, they may find another obstacle tomorrow.

Do you doubt specific people, have you encountered obstacles in your business?

We haven’t encountered obstacles, we have been importing since December but logically they want to stop us from importing bananas.

How much do you import annually? Are you a competitor to the famous major importer in this sphere?

No, it is clear that we are very far from this scale. We import approximately 40-50 tons of bananas.

Are sales normal?

Yes, we sell as much as we import. This is business with its problems.

Are there many banana importers? SRC officials say the sector is competitive, there are many companies.

Yes, there are other companies too, the market seemed to open up at the end of last year, many import, some people import from Georgia with a van.

What is the impact of the competition on prices? How low are they?

Official statistical analysis was done, the price of banana sold locally has gone down by nearly 30% against last year. For example, our best bananas sell 630 drams per kilo. There was no such price in Armenia last year, the price did not go down from 800-900 drams.

As a new importer, what is your impression? Is the prime minister’s instruction that everyone can import to Armenia anything they want valid?

So far, we felt so. Now they are already creating obstacles. To tell the truth, we also believed in the prime minister that there will be no consequences, therefore we import.

And what is the attitude of the customs service?

It’s fine, they don’t cause any problems. From time to time there are some bureaucratic issue but there are lots of positive changes in this service compared with last year or two years ago. I feel it, the brokers working with us, different businessmen say there are positive changes but not everything is smooth.

What does this situation show? What are you going to do?

We will continue to import bananas, we hope this will be the first and last unlawful, rogue and street obstacle. To tell the truth, the reaction of the authorities was always adequate, they always reacted from different places, this time too, they asked how they can help us get over the obstacles.