Regarding the provision of the Government that, through Decree 050 of 2023, establishes not to increase the rates of the trips by Invías and ANI, the Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure makes the following statement:

sudden change

Decreeing the freezing of toll rates for concessioned roads is reflected in an untimely change in the rules of the game in a long-standing business, whose financial backbone, precisely, is supported by the collection derived from tolls as a source of payment for the investments made on the concessioned infrastructure.

Consequently, the State will be forced to compensate the projects and deliver, with money from the Contingency Fund and budget, the one billion pesos that approximately the latter will stop receiving during the year 2023, as a consequence of the modifications rates adopted earlier this week. This has been confirmed by the Minister of Finance.

In addition, this measure causes an economic imbalance in the contracts, since the actual rates each year will be lower than those provided for in their structuring, since they are not restored.

In the particular case of the so-called IP (private initiatives), being projects that are financed exclusively with the collection of tolls, this measure generates the risk that they cannot guarantee their financial sustainability and, as a result of the above, the contracts could be terminated. In advance. In this case, the State must also recognize the investments made and must complete the works and manage, operate and maintain the roads.

The consequences

However, the concessioned projects are not exempt from facing the economic situation that the country is experiencing: increases derived from inflation in the cost of payrolls or increases in the value of inputs, among many other factors.

Thus, not adjusting their toll rates upwards implies the risk of not recognizing the true value of the goods and services required for the construction and administration of the projects. (This can generate unemployment and possible breaches with suppliers by the concessions).

The main consequence for the country, in view of the scope of the issued decree, is that, as of this date, it will be the Government and all Colombians –even those who do not travel on the concessioned highways– who will end up responding, via taxes, for the money that the projects fail to collect, since said collection constitutes the source of payment for investments made on the infrastructure.

To this should be added the fact that changing the rules of the game generates a climate of legal uncertainty that, for obvious reasons, results in uncertainty among those financiers and gambling investors who bet on initiatives of this nature.

Photo:

Time / Courteous

Preserve trust

Hand in hand, the Government and the sector must avoid the deterioration of confidence. Thanks to it, we have built over 30 years a successful and strategic alliance (State-concessions) in favor of the development and modernization of the national infrastructure.

Confidence that, in addition, could be damaged by the aforementioned financiers and investors (local and international) who out of conviction have believed in a model that, like that of concessions, It has demonstrated –not only in Colombia: throughout the world, even in countries like China– its irrefutable effectiveness.

It must not be forgotten that this trust has allowed infrastructure to be understood as a long-term State policy that transcends governments in power or political cycles. All of this, with the unwavering support of multilateral banks.

Contribution of concessions

It is also worth remembering that private participation in the development of infrastructure, as the main ally of the State, has been the cornerstone for building and intervening, during the last 30 years, more than 10,000 km of highways throughout the country. national that it would not have been possible to execute through public works, given the existing budgetary insufficiencies. We should also add the impact of the aforementioned concessions on the social spectrum, which translates into a better quality of life for society as a whole.

The foregoing, because the development of roads of this nature generates a productive chain that includes the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, and demands the use of various inputs from sectors such as industrial, commercial or financial.

The union trusts the good judgment of the Government and in his good sense to analyze in detail everything exposed here. The country’s concessions, for their part, will continue with the unwavering commitment to build, day by day, a better country. In this regard, the union reiterates its constant willingness for constructive dialogue with the Government, under the premise of the general interest of the Nation.

Finally, it is worth noting the anxiety that affects the sector, as far as the installations of some concessions are the object of violations that require urgent action by the authorities.