The year 2016 has begun with losses for South Ossetia entrepreneurs
Trucks with perishable goods have been standing one after another on the Russian ‘Nizhny Zaramag’ customs, in the direction of South Ossetia, for already three weeks. The entrepreneurs cannot import goods, because they all of the sudden have become illegal.
Murat Tskhovrebov, the Head of South Ossetia Customs Committee, has explained that South Ossetian businessmen buy goods for sale, but when importing them, they declare them as personal use items, without paying a customs duty. This system has worked so far, but it no longer works now. Now everything has become official and export goods shall have corresponding certificates.
The problem has immediately affected the shops. People have been hastily buying up dairy products, as well as frankfurters, wieners and sausages that have remained on sale from December supplies. Eggs and dairy products are the most acute problem. Not only an export certificate, but also a veterinary certificate that can be obtained only in Moscow, is required in order to transport them through the border. Consequently, eggs cannot be found in the shops. Although the cottage cheese unexpectedly showed up there yesterday.
As the entrepreneurs explain, the problem is actually irresoluble. ‘In order to obtain export certificate one has to to buy goods directly from a manufacturer, that is, at the factory, in huge trade lots. Whereas we buy no more than 10 boxes of goods of the same item name. With such a meager procurement no one will even talk to us at the factory, to say nothing of issuing a certificate to us,’- Alik Gabaraev, an entrepreneur, explained to SO Parliament Speaker, Anatoly Bibilov, who agreed to listen to him and several other local businesmen.
‘If we ask the factory to sell us 10 boxes of chocolates, we will be sent to the market, to dealers. While dealers issue only the invoices, that are not a document for the customs.’
Salesmen say, they have come up with a solution how to save at least some of the perishable products – they transfer cargo into cars, as there are no such requirements to the car owners, at least so far.
The changes will inevitably result in a new price growth in South Ossetia. ‘I’m transporting about 300 items of goods; the customs duty makes from RUB200 to RUB500 [about US$ 5] per item. So, I have to pay at least RUB60 thousand [about US$ 750] for a vehicle. Of course, I will have to raise the price by 20- 50 percent,’- Alik Gabaraev presented his calculations to the Parliament Speaker.
Anatoly Bibilov sees a possible way out in introducing the amends to the trade agreement with Russia and has promised to do ‘everything possible’ for that. Deputy Prime Minister, Alan Tekhov, who also met with entrepreneurs, has almost the same opinion.
Meanwhile, people say, the suddenness of this decision is related to an abrupt drop of Ruble rate in Russia and a dire need of money.