This week, the government narrowed down the grounds for cargo inspections by the law enforcers at the customs. During the hour of questions to the government in the parliament, Samopomich MP Tetiana Ostrikova emphasized:
“This is good, but this is not enough, because such initiatives do not eliminate the very roots of abuses.
All entrepreneurs know that all the SBU does at the customs is mass blackmail with the goal of forcing businesses to be “friendly” to them and provide them with illegal rewards. I want to tell the government that in order to really stop this illegal interference in the work of business at the customs, we need a long-awaited reform of the Security Service – the one that will forbid the SBU to deal with the customs matters. The official statistics of their work for 2017 testifies their absolute inefficiency – the SBU only managed to collect 1.6 million hryvnias in criminal proceedings. This is a drop in the sea compared to the losses caused by such actions and delays for business and, as a result, for the budget.
We need to take away from the SBU the irrelevant functions and make them focus on the fulfillment of their main task – protection of the state from traitors and spies.”
Tetiana Ostrikova continues, “In addition to this, we must make the customs strong and independent, so that customs officers would not be intimidated by the law enforcement but would contribute to international trade business. Nowadays, the Security Service of Ukraine is the only unreformed body that exercises massive pressure on business, in particular, at the customs.”
In response, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv said that the government had a program for reforming fiscal bodies, and the head of the SBU is ready to implement reforms.
In order to make sure that the promises of the officials are not just empty talk, Tetiana Ostrikova said that a relevant bill, which revises the functions of the Security Service, had already been registered in the parliament .