Monday 25 September 2023

Half of tax collected in marchamos and fuels would not reach roads

Paying the bills


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QCOSTARICA – It is reasonable to believe the major part, if not all, of the tax in the road circulation permit, the Marchamo, and unique tax on fuels collected by the government would go toward improving and maintaining roads infrastructure.


However, half of the taxes that will be collected this year in the Marchamo and fuels will not be allocated for that purpose.

This is the conclusion from a recent study prepared by Federico Villalobos, economist and analyst on infrastructure issues, based on the proposed 2022 budget and data of the office of the Comptroller General (CGR).

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According to the investigation, the two taxes will bring in some US$514 million dollars, but the Ministry of Finance (Treasury) will only allocate US$256 million to maintaining and improving the country’s road network.

That is to say that US$258 million will not be used, in 2022, for other priorities.

Of the allocation, US$126 million will be for the 8,000 kilometers of national roads network and US$130 million for the 36 thousand km of the municipal  (local) roads network.

The rest of the money will remain in the Treasury coffers, part to be used to meet the debt service by the financing assigned to the CONAVI, a division of the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT) – Ministry of Public Works and Transport –  for new works, although that “it is not the purpose of a road fund,” says Villalobos.

“The resources really destined for maintenance are limited, which generates a disconnection between the taxpayer and the services received,” says the economist.

At the same time, he warns that the new form of government budget management, makes it extremely complex to follow up at the final destination that is given to the resources towards the conservation of the roads.

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This because the resources of the CONAVI are not handled as transfers to deconcentrated organs, but are taken as a program within the MOPT.

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