Sigmund Freund of the Private Public Alliance Agency (DGAPP) of the Abinader administration is on a media tour to explain why a public-private alliance should manage the inspection of vehicles in the Dominican Republic. Transit and Transport Institute (Intrant) Law 63-17 orders the inspections but does not create a separate private-public entity. In the past, checks were carried out by a division at the Ministry of Public Works. With time, the inspections were not carried out and the “revista” sticker became a circulation tax.
No one debates the need for inspections to improve road safety. These are intended to remove from circulation the vehicles that are not fit to be on the road. Freund argues that studies show 40% of traffic accidents occur due to vehicle problems related to tires and brakes,” as he told Adalberto Grullón and Millizen Uribe on TeleAntillas’ Uno+Uno talk show.
Indeed, according to reports provided by the Military and Police Commission (Comipol), between 2021 and 2022, most of the 1,608,759 roadside assistance services provided on roads and highways were due to mechanical problems and tires in poor condition.
The Abinader administration is proposing holding a tender to hire a company to install the inspection workshops. A mega investment would have to be made if the proposed new outfits are created, if the installed capacity of already existing mechanical workshops is not considered an option. The Abinader administration is a champion of public-private alliances. Public-private alliances have been criticized because they create exclusive service providers that are allowed to take on debt that taxpayers may have to pay if the business does not work out as planned for government and private partners. Public-private alliances are not subject to government procurement rules.
Meanwhile, Freund continues spearheading a media effort to defend the public-private alliance strategy for vehicle inspection. He says that a decision has not yet been reached and the strategy is being socialized in the media.
Freund says that all around the world where national inspection systems are in place these are not government-operated. He said that a government role is not to manage a mechanic workshop, but to verify that the private companies implementing the system do it correctly.
“The government role is to create public policies that benefit society and to supervise and supervise,” he said when interviewed on Uno + Uno talk show on TeleAntillas.
Freund estimates around US$70 million would have to be invested in the workshops for the inspections. He said that Intrant does not have the technical know-how to implement the program itself. Vehicle owners would pay a fee for the inspection to cover the cost of the service and the profit of the investors.
“It is definitely an additional sacrifice to the citizen, but we are talking about what a cab driver puts into the vehicle daily in fuel is the same, two thousand pesos to 1,500 pesos a cab driver puts into his vehicle every day,” said Freund in an interview on Teleantillas’ Uno Más Uno program.
15 March 2023