Carriers’ rights continue to be violated under the Minister’s new order - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Carriers’ rights continue to be violated under the Minister’s new order

20 January, 2014

On 25 January, 2013, the Minister of Finance issued an Order, under which certain restrictions were imposed on entrepreneurs/shipping companies in connection with the transportation of goods on the custums territory of Georgia, while the Georgian Post, under the same order, turned out to be in a privileged position vis-à-vis other local carriers. Our organization released a special statement dealing with this particular order.

With the enactment of the Finance Minister’s order mentioned above, the carriers have encountered a range of problems when carrying out their business activities. Due to the unfair restrictions imposed by the order, some of the carriers have faced the danger of their business activities being altogether discontinued.

Transparency International Georgia has sought the restoration of the shipping companies’ restricted rights through court. Both the First Instance and the Appeals Courts deemed the above order of the Minister of Finance unlawful and annulled it by a relevant decision. Today, the dispute is pending decision at the Supreme Court. Therefore, the carriers are awaiting the Supreme Court's decision to continue with their activities.

After the case was made public, the Ministry of Finance issued a new Order. Under the Minister's new decision, the regulations infringe the carrier rights should have been abolished on 31 December, 2013. At that time, our organization viewed the above move of the Minister as suspicious and even released a relevant statement. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the fact that carriers were awaiting the decision and without any advance note, the Minister of Finance issued a new order on 31 December, 2013, thereby prolonging the length of the restrictions imposed on the local carriers for 20 days, i.e. until 20 January, 2014.

Importantly, such a decision continues to prevent the carriers to carry out free-enterprise activities, while extending the validity of the Finance Minister’s order, on the other hand, increases the material damage inflicted upon the carriers through the Minister’s unlawful order.

It remains unclear under what grounds and reasons did the Finance Minister prolong the cancellation of the order infringing the interests of carriers yet another time. It is impermissible for a public agency to make such conflicting decisions in a very short time and without a proper advance dissemination of the information. Similar actions inhibit the creation of a stable environment and significantly reduce the public tust in government institutions.