Another sign that this new Bulgarian government under Boyko Borisov is taking the bull by the horns and making strong reforms left right and centre. When will this early push in their office end. When with the fully charged batteries of power wind down and grind to a halt like all the recent previous governments? Has Boris got the energy and will to keep this up? Too many questions that will be answered in time.
Bulgaria's National Revenue Agency and the Customs Agency have been connected in a new joint information system that is supposed to help boost efficiency in fighting customs and tax crimes.
The new system was presented Thursday by the Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov at a special ceremony, at which the heads of the two institutions, Krasimir Stefanov (NRA) and newly-appointed Gen. Vanyo Tanov (CA) signed a cooperation agreement.
Djankov said official data showed Bulgaria lost about BGN 1,2 B from value-added tax abuses but the actual figure was much higher - BGN 2-3 B.
The main aim of the new information system would be to increase control on the import of high-risk goods (such as Chinese and Turkish-made retail goods, electronics, and grain), and to crack down on contraband and tax evasion schemes.
Thus, thanks to the new system, officers of the National Revenue Agency will be able to inspect the goods in question immediately after the respective customs duties have been paid, which will allow them to combat schemes for siphoning off value-added tax.
"Bulgaria has had a project for such a system for 6 years, and only the lack of political will has prevented its launch," said Djankov, who stated shortly after his party GERB won Bulgaria's July elections that the system had been delayed because of the former Interior Minister and top Socialist leader Rumen Petkov.
"The system will bring more revenue to Bulgaria, and will help make the country more transparent, and with less corruption. The inter-system connection will provide for a very swift reaction by the joint teams of the NRA and the Customs Agency that will be able to control the actual movement of goods", Djankov explained.
The new system is also expected to bring greater efficiency to the tracking down of deal with excise taxes around the country.
Shortly after his appointment about two weeks ago, Bulgaria's new Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, said the joint information system of the Customs and the National Revenue Agency would be launched within two months.
The new government seems to have decided to speed up this measure. According to Djankov, who is trying to find a way to close an emerging BGN 2,5 B deficit in the Bulgarian state budget, the creation of the new joint information system is going to lead to collecting about BGN 150-200 M more from duties and taxes.
On Wednesday, August 5, Djankov announced plans to reduce state expenditures by BGN 1,150 B by the end of 2009, and said the government was now going to focus on trying to raise more revenue in order to close the emerging budget gap.