Groups Unite to Monitor Road Tax Collection, Prevent Graft

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.



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