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27 May, 2008 08:44

Booze crisis threatens Russia’s drinkers

Manufacturers of alcoholic drinks could face a nationwide shutdown on June 1st because the state's new alcohol duty tracking system is not yet ready. However, the Federal Tax Service authorities are confident they can prevent a crisis.

Licences for the tracking software are to be renewed on June 1st, until the new software is ready.

The Federal Tax Service has announced it will ensure the Integrated Automated State Information System (EGAIS) for tracking  alcohol products will continue to operate without disruptions.

The service’s authorities have said the licenses for the EGAIS will be extended until the new software is introduced.

The new system is now being tested in four regions: St. Petersburg, Leningrad region, Moscow region and  Krasnodar. 

A representative from the Tax Service said the testing would be done without shutting down the plants, while the existing software is still operating.

“Until the developed software is introduced commercially, EGAIS participants will use the software that is currently installed.”

However, in 2006, when the EGAIS system was introduced, the industry was thrown into chaos. Then the new rules were brought in before businesses had the new labeling equipment ready.