With road tax collection set for implementation yesterday, a regional good-government organization said it would join an informal economy association in monitoring the conduct of tax officers who allegedly regularly overcharge drivers.
Speaking yesterday at a news conference, the two groups said networks would be set up to observe the road tax collection process nationwide and that the monitoring, which began yesterday, would continue until Sept 15.
Chey San, coordinator of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, said his agents would be sent to observe irregularities at tax collection sites across the country.
“We want to improve road tax collection and monitor the collectors’ overcharging,” he said, adding that a hotline has been set up if people wish to make a complaint.
Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, said that Cambodia would lose $1 million annually to road tax graft.
“As we estimated last year, if people were made to pay 1,500 to 2,000 riel [$0.37 to $0.50] more, we could potentially lose $1 million per year to the tax collectors’ pockets,” Mr Pao said. “They exploit money from citizens to fill the great demands of their families, which is causing the nation’s downfall.”
A report released in 2010 by the Civic Alliance for Social Accountability, in association with ANSA, found that Cambodians were required by the Finance Ministry to pay 3,000 to 4,500 riel, or between about $0.75 and $1.13, per motorcycle, but that tax officials were charging them 1,500 to 2,000 riel more than that. Drivers of cars were required to pay about $2.50 but were routinely charged twice as much.
Officials at the Finance Ministry and General Department of Taxation could not be reached.
About 93,569 motorbikes and 108,881 motor vehicles were newly registered in the first five months of 2011. Last year, there were a total of 1,650,000 registered vehicles on the road, according to figures obtained from the Ministry of Public Works’ land department.