Five to seven percent of gas cylinders on the market are not certified or are not filled at the authorized filling stations.
The gray market of gas cylinders is gaining momentum in Croatia, and apart from tax evasion, it also comes with the problem of safety in handling these potentially explosive materials. Therefore, the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) has launched a major offensive against the illegal gas cylinder filling stations and the gray market, reports poslovni.hr on August 8, 2016.
“Our estimates show that about five to seven percent of the cylinders are part of the grey market, and they have not been certified or are not being filled at the certified filling stations. Some say that the numbers are larger, although five to seven percent is already a pretty high figure”, said Branimir Palunko, a gas entrepreneur from Fažana and the president of the LPG Association at HGK. “If an illegal filling station makes or fills up about 200 gas cylinders a day for legal placement on the market… at the current average price of 89 kuna, it would bring in a daily income of 17,800 kuna”, he added, explaining that this means almost 60,000 cylinders annually are not licensed and certified, with 4.3 million kuna in illegal income.
In Palunko’s words, large distributors and owners of small legal filling stations are therefore right to complain that they have not been properly protected. They are being constantly supervised; various inspections are coming frequently because there is no more State Inspectorate which did a unified inspection. Meanwhile, there are no attempts to put under control small illegal stations.
Asked how this problem can be solved, Palunko said that one of the proposals was to reinforce the work of the inspection teams. “The problem is, and the EU pointed this out, that many authorities of inspectors, which now operate within different ministries, often overlap. For instance, it happens that inspectors come more than once in just a few days and ask for similar or same information, and thus hinder the work of the legal and quality distributors of gas. Moreover, if the unlicensed cylinders are found, they should be attested if possible or taken care of in accordance with regulations. All the filling stations have to be certified and the independent filling stations should have a minimum stock of around 50,000 cylinders and be able to prove their purchase with the corresponding invoices”, said Palunko, listing some of the proposals that could bring the solution for this issue.