The country will end up paying the Globalvía company up to six times more than the amount originally invested on Route 27, as follows from estimates made by the professor and researcher at the University of Costa Rica, Mario Villalobos.
The expert, who is part of the Center for Research in Pure and Applied Mathematics (Cimpa), assured that it is urgent that the authorities renegotiate the financial model of the contract because it recognizes multiple rates that even cause the country to run the risk of paying interest on interest, which is illegal.
“The problem is the discount rate. You have to pay them all the money from the beginning of the concession and the investment was not made that way. We are going to end up paying five or six times the initial investment,” Villalobos said.
No reduction in the debt
A recent report from the supervising company of route 27, the Getinsa – Gabinete S.A Consortium, revealed the most recent collection figures from Globalvía indicating that, as of October 2020, more than $ 661.2 million had been collected.
However, when applying all the deflation and reduction formulas (contemplated in the contract), that amount becomes $ 210.7 million. This means that the original amount of the contract ($ 301 million) has barely dropped 69.93% and the debt is still $ 90 million.
According to the UCR mathematician, that figure ($ 90 million) currently represents $ 584 million. “That would be the debt if the country decides to pay everything today, but that amount will increase as the years go by, that’s why I say that we will end up paying five or even six times the original cost of the contract ($ 301 million),” he added .
The supervisor’s report also accuses the concessionaire of manipulating the income statements for tolls, since it carries out arbitrary reductions of alleged “evasion” of payment made by some drivers. This conflict is in judicial instances.
For the former Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Carlos Villalta, the slow impact on debt reduction is due to the terms under which the contract was negotiated, which establishes parameters that are very beneficial for the concessionaire.
“I could translate it in a few words: that there really is a discount rate included in the 2000 contract, which is a good deal for the concessionaire, unfortunately the contract, which dates from 2000, includes clauses and forms that to some extent do not they only protect the concessionaire, but make it a very profitable business”, said the engineer, who added that it should be taken into account that the money collected must be recognized for the cost of the additional works carried out by Globalvía, as well as the maintenance cost.
A renegotiation is required
For the former minister, it is essential that the negotiation process of the expansion of the highway be used to renegotiate the discount rates and the financial model. Currently, all money collected by the concessionaire must be taken at the dollar value of November 2000, when the contract was established, despite the fact that the works began up to eight years later. In addition, once the amount is deflated, all the established reductions must be made, also in the contract.
“Not everything is the fault of the concessionaire, there were omissions by the Administration at the time of the contract. We have to take advantage of a series of lessons learned so as not to repeat them,” said Villalta, noting that the same company is expected to carry out the expansion of the said road.
The initial cost of the concession project for the San José-Caldera route was $ 258 million; However, during the government of Luis Guillermo Solís, an addendum to the contract was approved where the amount was raised to $ 301 million as part of a conciliatory agreement with Globalvía, to avoid facing an international arbitration process filed by the concessionaire who requested a price adjustment in the cost of the highway.
The concession contract has a term of 25.5 years, that is, it is expected to conclude in June 2033 or before, at the moment in which the debt is canceled. However, this contract will have a modification because Globalvía is planned to be in charge of the highway expansion works, which will cause the contract term to be extended for another 15 years.