Press Release December 15, 2015
December 15, 2015
GFI Albania, a company specializing in marking and monitoring of hydrocarbons, halted its work in Albania on December 10, 2015 due to the failure of the Contracting Authority (the Ministry of Finance) to fulfill their contractual obligations. The terms of the concession agreement between GFI Albania and the Contracting Authority called for the marking and monitoring of both the refined fuels and the crude oil. To date the Contracting Authority did not honor the legal and contractual obligation of crude oil marking and monitoring. Consequently, GFI Albania has been operating with only 30% capacity since 2013. Although the company has incurred financial losses during the past two years, we are proud of our contribution in the fight against tax fraud in Albania. GFI Albania has:
• Increased Albanian government revenues by additional $60 million USD during last year, while many other fiscal indicators have shown declining trends;
• Found evidence and reported to the Contracting Authority that hundreds of gas stations across the country supplied smuggled or adulterated fuels, thus causing not only fiscal losses for the government, but also damaging environment, motor vehicles and jeopardizing the public’s health;
• Provided the Contracting Authority with advanced technological instruments that should be used to monitor and stop ongoing tax fraud in the crude oil sector. We estimated that Albania is losing $70 million USD per year in tax evasion in the crude oil industry!
Contrary to allegations in the media, the cessation of services was not abrupt. In the past months, GFI Albania sent repeated written notifications to the Contracting Authority. In respect of our strict confidentiality terms, these notifications were sent only to the Contracting Authority. The response came only after we halted our work. At the request of the Contracting Authority for negotiations, we quickly resumed our work in good faith.
Our technology allows us to identify with high accuracy the illegal adulteration of fuels, as well as other hydrocarbons in their entire spectrum, including the crude oil. The Contracting Authority is well aware of this fact. Our product was technically tested and proven to be reliable also during the tender procedures, a requirement which was probably unique in public competitive bids in Albania.
The crude oil marking and monitoring, except for being legal requirement, is the right instrument to prevent tax evasion in this industry. We remain hopeful that the Government of Albania shall continue its campaign against tax fraud and the informal economy. At the same time we hope the government shall promote and support technologies that lead to a more efficient system of countering tax evasion.