Todays Date
August 18, 2022

High tolls for dangerous highways

Skopje-Tetovo highway is an investment made more than 20 years ago; since then there has been no investment and maintenance costs are so small that they do not justify the high prices

Macedonia has a total of 10 tolls on the highways that serve as a source of road maintenance and new investments so that citizens of Macedonia and various visitors can travel more efficiently and comfortably. The amount required to be paid at toll gates is different.

In early July the government decided to increase toll fees on highways, that is, decided to return the old fees as they were before 2008. The then government decided to reduce the toll fees due to economic crisis. According to the government, Macedonia does no longer have economic crisis and therefore it returned the old toll fees.


Damaged road infrastructure


Given the fact that highways in Macedonia are not in a very good condition, there is a logical question: where does the money from paying the toll fee go? For the economic standard of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, the toll fee of 160 denars for the highway Tetovo-Skopje is very high.


Еlmi Аziri

Tetovo-Skopje highway has many potholes. Investments in this area were made ​​20 years ago and the asphalt on this road has not been renovated at all since then. The same can be said for other roads in the country, such as: the highway Tetovo-Gostivar, where despite the poor infrastructure, bumpers on the highway are also in very poor condition.

Citizens believe that as always the government simply uses them to meet its economic needs and the money collected is not used for road maintenance at all.

Economist Elmi Aziri for Inbox7 says that in the economy of public services there is an unwritten rule fees to be set to such an extent to cover the cost of implementation of these services.

Domestic highways are not safe

“I want to point out that this unwritten rule does not apply in our case because for example: Skopje-Tetovo highway is an investment made more than 20 years ago, and since then we have had no investment and maintenance costs are so small that do not justify these prices”.

Aziri says that the fact should be taken into account that roads are considered a public good and as such should not be subject to “strict rules of the market”, especially after the period of return on their investments.


Robert Nesimi

Robert Nesimi estimates that attention should be paid not only to toll fee increase on highways, but as a whole on all measures the government has taken in order to fill the treasury which seems to be empty.

“Undoubtedly tolls on highways are part of government plans. Some of the measures that I would point out are: reduce the level of small firms due to payment of VAT from two million to one million denars, payments of contributions and part- time jobs. The new debt of 500 million Euros, taken prematurely and eventually the increase of excise duties on some products, such as cigarettes.

Increasing the toll fees on highways, according to Nesimi should be viewed from a very simple point, which according to him is because the government needs money.

“This is the easiest way the country to get into the pockets of citizens and the private sector”, he says.

But the PE for state roads for Inbox7 noted that payment of toll fees is one of the sources that fund the annual program of this public enterprise.

“All funds collected from the tolls are used for construction, reconstruction, renovation, maintenance and protection of the public roads”. But citizens do not think so. They say they are irritated as they come across many problems. “I do not know why we pay this money when the holes on the roads are increasing instead of decreasing. On highways I must drive zig-zag to avoid broken roads not to damage the vehicle”, says citizen H.B.


Where does the money go?


But in response of the Public Enterprise for maintenance and protection of national and regional roads it is said that during 2014, including September, on the Tetovo-Gostivar highway, it invested in setting up a new network of bumpers in length of 2.61 M1 and repairing the damaged network and its coverage in the length of 1.860m.

“The public enterprise for state roads will take into account the financial resources for this purpose in the annual program for 2015”.

And for reconstruction of the highway Tetovo-Gostivar the company said that the Public Enterprise for maintenance and protection of national and regional roads “Makedonija pat” – Skopje, within the regular maintenance in 2015, will take all actions necessary to repair the damaged parts of the Tetovo-Gostivar highway.

Editor: Selim Ibraimi