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New tariffs for using roads

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 17
Parliament is discussing a new Government initiative to charge lorries entering Georgia around GEL 150 at customs points. This tax is designed to create further funds for road infrastructure development.

It has been calculated that developing the road infrastructure in Georgia will cost approximately GEL 26 million. Last year more than 150,000 lorries were recorded as crossing the Georgian border, therefore if each pays 150 GEL the appropriate sum will be raised.

Interestingly, Parliament is discussing this possible increase in the customs fees despite the fact that the President has also suggested that any increase in taxation should be subject to a referendum. This amendment to the constitution has already had its first hearing in the Georgian parliament. Under this amendment such a referendum must be called by the President and the decision it makes must come into force in four years, so imposing this new tax would appear to contradict the amendments being currently made.

It could be suggested that the Government wants to introduce this new tax before the constitution is amended, but the Government claims that the new charge is neither tax nor revenue. It says this is simply a charge for using the roads, and it is therefore free to impose it despite the proposed amendment. This type of verbal formula might be used many times if the amendments are actually adopted.