Further delays in full implementation of fuel smuggling measures

Measures designed to clamp down on illicit fuel trade will require an additional three-year period to be fully implemented, the heads of a fuel traders association were told at a meeting yesterday with Giorgos Pitsilis, the head official at AADE, the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, a finance ministry division.

The measures, intended to prevent fuel smuggling activity said to be worth as much as 250 million euros annually, were originally presented in 2009, meaning their full implementation by December 31, 2021, as traders were told, will have required 12 years to achieve, if achieved.

The plan includes a cash inflow-outflow tracking system for petrol stations and the installation of GPS systems on fuel trucks to monitor their movements.

Petrol stations installed the required technology for cash inflow-outflow monitoring between 2014 and 2016 but AADE has not fully utilized incoming data. The authority has limited its activity to random checks.

Complicating matters even more, AADE intends to commission a firm for inflow-outflow tracking system inspections in autumn, as part of a re-certification process. Any systems found to not meet required standards will need to be reinstalled, according to this plan.

This could cause additional confusion and unrest as petrol station owners and fuel companies spent over 100 million euros between 2014 and 2016 to have cash inflow-outflow monitoring systems installed.