Dragan Penezić, Co-president Of The FIC Anti-illicit Trade & Food Committee (British American Tobacco SEE d.o.o. Beograd)

Coordinated Work Of State Services Essential

It is important to connect all inspection services in the period ahead and establish functionality for exchanging information between the Tax Administration and Customs Administration systems and the eInspector system

Despite negative external factors, Serbia has recorded an increase in tax revenues over the past year, and that trend is continuing today. With an awareness of the importance of securing planned inflows of funds into the budget and halting the flow of illicit activities, the Government of Serbia adopted the Programme for Suppression of the Grey Economy 2023- 2025, and subsequently the accompanying Action Plan.

FIC members participated actively in the preparation of these documents, providing specific ideas and proposals.

It is worth noting that the work of the majority of national inspections is conducted via the eInspector [eInspektor] information system, which includes 36 of the total of 43 national inspection services. The updated checklists and forms that determine the way inspections are carried out are published regularly on the website, which provides companies with the opportunity to familiarise themselves, in a simple way, with conditions for doing business in accordance with the regulations.

The unique contact centre for reporting irregularities in the work of the national inspections services, which is the primary point of contact for lodging requests in the field of inspection supervision, has undergone numerous improvements and expansions in functionality since its inception. It is also connected to local government inspections and the eInspektor information system, which serves to simplify the procedure for reporting irregularities significantly.

We insist on the creating of an electronic public register of valid taxes and charges, with the aim of controlling parafiscal levies and increasing the transparency of operations

Working within the framework of expert bodies, members of the FIC analyse regulations and market practices, which also forms the basis on which they indicate areas that must be improved. Within the scope of further improvements, it is important to connect all inspection services and establish functionality for exchanging information between the Tax Administration and Customs Administration systems and the eInspector system. It is also essential to amend the Act on Infractions / Law on Misdemeanours, in order to create the legal foundations for exchanging cases in electronic form between the eInspector system and the system for misdemeanour courts (SIPRES), which would improve the efficiency of work on proceedings markedly.

One of the most important preventative measures is an adequate system to punish illicit trade, and it is thus necessary to conduct specialisation training for the judges of misdemeanour courts in the area of grey economy suppression and to monitor the work of misdemeanour courts in such proceedings.

Members of the Coordination Commission for Inspection Supervision have stated that the inspection services of Serbia are in an alarming state, due primarily to an unfavourable age structure, with inspectors having an average age of 59. Another major problem is an insufficient number of inspectors, considering the fact that state inspection staff capacity fulfilment ranges from between 30 to 70%, while the hiring of new inspectors is advancing very slowly.

Measures in the field of the policy on excise goods, primarily tobacco and petroleum, are among the most sensitive. That’s why it’s essential for the state services to be coordinated in their work, which will ensure the more efficient planning of processes and contribute to fortifying public finances.

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