Border guards take on new functions
The Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, Igor Rachkovsky, has told a session of the Council of Ministers Presidium that excessive concentration of control services at the border increases the time citizens and vehicles spend at checkpoints. “Border checkpoints should be places to check the presence of necessary documents instead of places to collect fees, store goods, issue certificates and so on,” he stressed, proposing to cut the number of control services at the border, while transferring their functions to the customs and border services.
The decision is guided by international experience. “As part of the Customs Union, Russia and Kazakhstan have legislated for the customs service to take over responsibility for inspection of transport — including veterinary and phytosanitary inspections. Practical realisation has been launched,” Mr. Rachkovsky notes. The State Border Committee will require vehicle owners to take out civil liability insurance. Moreover, it was proposed to empower border service authorities to control entry of vehicles depending on their technical condition.
According to Mr. Rachkovsky, the present infrastructure cannot reduce queues at the border, which are largely governed by a dramatic rise in passenger and vehicle traffic. In view of the unfolding economic processes within the Customs Union and the enforcement of the border traffic agreement, the Belarusian border service expects volumes of people and traffic crossing the border to rise further, particularly across the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. “The existing international checkpoints are not able to handle increasing passenger and transport flow, so the State Border Committee is keen to revise the status and working hours of existing simple checkpoints to Lithuania,” he adds.