The Panhellenic Federation of Fuel Station Owners and Oil Traders (POPEK) has raised the alarm over continuing problems that distort the country’s fuel market, insisting that government decisions aimed at tackling smuggling have not been enforced.
Estimates put the losses that the Greek state incurs because of fuel smuggling at 300 million euros a year.
In a statement Tuesday, POPEK denounced the government’s foot-dragging, saying the ministerial decisions required for the operation of a much-touted electronic system to monitor inflows and outflows of fuel at private gas stations have yet to be enforced, even though a number of businesses have already invested in technology to do just that.
POPEK chief Giorgos Asmatoglou told Kathimerini that the state’s negligence in dealing with the issue has made efforts to regulate the fuel market even more difficult.
Moreover, he said that one of the reasons why there have been so many problems getting the system monitoring inflows and outflows of fuel up and running is the lack of a common software platform.
Other sector officials have also stressed that even if fuel stations did record data with regard to inflows and outflows regularly and consistently, the state’s central monitoring mechanisms have neither the infrastructure nor the staff required to process that data and use the information to tackle fuel smuggling.
POPEK’s statement was made in response to a joint ministerial decision published in the Government Gazette on August 16 which is aimed at amending a previous decision in 2015, which sought to tackle the scourge of fuel smuggling.
However, the government’s decision last week omitted to include the 2015 decision’s call for the creation of a registry of fuel reservoirs.
The 2015 decision did not materialize at the time due to what critics described as its vagueness.
However, the new decision last week appears to have made matters worse.
As a result, the Greek state, at the moment, is not even aware how many reservoirs exist and which ones are legal, as no centralized inventory has been created.