25 June 2019, Tuesday, 19:52
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Where Is the Money Raised on "Road Tax"?

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Cartoon: CARICATURA.RU

The authorities will slip their hand into drivers' pocket.

Four years ago the "road tax" was attached to the MOT Test. In this regard many drivers have started ignoring the MOT Test despite fines. They say it's cheaper.

The other day Minister of Finance of Belarus Maksim Yermalovich stated that non-payment of the scandalous "road tax" would be fined in double amount of the fee.

Doctor of Economics, Professor Barys Zhaliba tells Charter97.org about the current state of Belarusian drivers:

- If we mean a so-called "road tax" - there is a well-known offer. In my opinion, it is reasonable at least because it is practiced by almost all countries. I mean to include this fee in the fuel price.

I believe it's the better option. First, this "tax" is expensive for people of low income(pensioners) who use their vehicles rarely. They have to pay the same amount.

It's fairer to include this tax in the fuel price. In this case the tax equals to the amount of fuel used.

I think the recent statement of the minister relates to the mass neglect of drivers to pay the tax, in addition, it also means neglect of the MOT Test. It's not a norm when hundreds of thousands of people have to drive without the MOT Test. Of course, the situation should be mended.

Once again, there is the practice of attaching the tax to the fuel price. That's it. Unfortunately, the Belarusian government is discovering the continents again. It is not surprising that they are trying to resist non-payers.

- Well, many people question the validity of the "road tax". Why do then the authorities threaten with sanctions rather than ease the system?

- It's hard to say what they have on their minds. Apparently, they think there are many people who drive seldom. Having estimated the variant of attaching the fee to the fuel price, they drove to lower income than that made on of the "road tax" only. They will keep to an old scheme, because the do not want to lose money. It's the secret of the century what this money raised on the "road tax" is spent for.

You know, there is some style on the part of the government. The Ministry of Finance supervises the situation. One way or another, an aggressive style reveals itself. I am convinced that this practice should be abandoned following the path of developed countries.

Unfortunately, the Belarusian government, I stress, is afraid of losing money.

- It is planned that photographic evidence will operate non-stop to reveal those who failed with the MOT Test. That is, drivers may immediately receive three "letters of happiness: for speeding, for failed MOT Test, and unpaid "road tax". How may drivers response to such initiative of the authorities?

- Essentially, drivers will be furious about such control. The authorities complicate life both for themselves and drivers. Instead of looking for better options, they want to bombard drivers with "letters of happiness". You know, repressive measures are in the habit of the Belarusian authorities. They can't realize it's the first thing to be abandoned!

- Now there is much information about deteriorating state of roads. It makes drivers wonder what their money is spent for...

- It's obvious that the situation with roads is neglected. When you compare roads in Germany with Belarusian ones. You are shocked. When Germans built excellent roads, the USSR wasted money for missiles and tanks. Unfortunately, it will take much time for us to catch up on it.

The authorities have no time to mend subsidiary roads. We have many segments, which can be barely called roads. This is what money should be spent on.

- The situation with drivers of Belarus is really poor: since the beginning of the year the fuel price has grown in 22 times, and now the authorities threaten with doubled "road tax". What can such policy line result in?

- I suppose that everyone remembers the year 2011, their reaction to price growth - mass actions "Stop-fuel".

You know, our refineries have been loss-making for several months, because of the price growth of the Russian crude oil. Though, it is noteworthy that we still buy it in at lower prices than on the world market. In addition, two our refineries are being reconstructed, and it's problematic to do amid losses.

As a result, the leadership of Belneftekhim, as they say, to split the problem - every week the fuel price grows by a copeck. As stated earlier, the fuel price should increase by 23% to gain the profit line. In general, step by step we are approaching the line of a dollar for one litre. That is, European prices for fuel, but not European salaries.