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Fuel smuggling cheats Georgia

Thursday, October 23
The Chairman of the Oil Product Producers and Importers Union Vano Mtvarelashvili stated at a briefing on October 20 that Georgia loses millions of GEL each year due to fuel being smuggled from its carriers whilst in transit.

Iranian and Turkish trucks pass through Georgia from Azerbaijan. To pass from Azerbaijan to Turkey through Georgia around 150 litres of fuel are needed. Many trucks have bigger fuel tanks than this, and therefore fill them up and sell the extra fuel in Georgia at a higher price. Fuel in Azerbaijan and Iran is at least twice as cheap as in Georgia, if not more so.

Mtvarelashvili estimates that smuggled diesel accounts for about 15 per cent of Georgian consumption, thus through these operations the budget loses approximately GEL 18-20 million. This damages those honest businessmen who register their businesses and pay their taxes.

Mtvarelashvili has asked the Ministry of Finance and other regulatory bodies to impose special limits on the amount of fuel vehicles entering Georgia can bear, as in Turkey, where any car entering the country should have no more than 600 litres of fuel on board. If extra fuel is needed it must be purchased in Turkey.