The Government continues the fight against the „Oil Mafia“

On the occasion of the seminar entitled „Professional Services and the Economy Restructuring“ organized by the Yugoslav Oil Agency, Serbian Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic declared that the sector of the oil industry had so far been a „deeply mafia-related sector“, and also added that, therefore, its total liberalization should not be expected within the next two years.

According to the Minister, through the series of commission payments for the oil and gas importation, as well as oil smuggling, the mafia had been realizing enormous profits – six to seven times superior to profits realized through the tobacco smuggling activities, as broadcasted by the BETA news agency.

Minister Djelic said that the war against the mafia in the domain of oil industry, which the Serbian Government initiated two and a half years ago, would be continued.

The Minister estimated that the new Decree on oil importation and sales, which is to enter in effect on May 1st 2003, would provide for the establishment of a much more severe competition in the domain of oil refining. The Decree is to provide us with the insight in the opinion and the reactions of all those dealing with NIS, said Mr. Djelic, and added that due to the „NIS lack of competition“ yearly budgetary expenditure ranged between 20 and 30 billion Dinars.

The Finance Minister warned NIS to expect, within the coming months, an exceptional attention from both the Tax Administration and the Government, and emphasized that the Serbian Government would very closely care about NIS not favoring its own crude oil importations on the detriment of other companies on the oil market. Mr. Djelic also said that, unlike Beopetrol, NIS would not be privatized in the current of the year.

Mr. Djelic also reminded that the past Decree on the Oil sales resulted in the cutting of a number of illegal oil supply channels and stopped an enormous source of financial benefit for the mafia.