THE NATIONAL Highway Company (NDS) has partially published its agreement with SkyToll, the contractor for Slovakia’s electronic toll collection tender, three months after the controversial deal was signed, the Sme daily reported on March 9. The contract’s appendix, which contained the original tender proposal made by the winning consortium, was not published along with the contract since the consortium did not agree to do so.
The tender, the most expensive in the history of Slovakia, was won by a two-company consortium which had offered the highest price. The consortium then created SkyToll which actually signed the contract with the NDS. According to the contract, the state will pay about €250 million for the actual construction of the toll system and, overall, SkyToll will be paid about €850 million through 2012.
The contract says that the NDS can penalise SkyToll with fines of €1,600 for minor violations to €25 million in the event the company does not complete the construction of the system under deadline. The NDS can also fine SkyToll if it assigns a sub-contractor to collect the tolls or if it does not match the contractually-stated standards of effectiveness in toll collection, Sme wrote.
The contract was published after strong pressure from some members of parliament and the media, including an article published by Sme 10 days prior to the contract’s release which stated that the NDS wanted to keep the contract secret by including a ‘confidentiality clause’ in the agreement.
At that point both Prime Minister Robert Fico and the Transport Ministry claimed that it was SkyToll which did not want to agree with publication of the contract. After the Sme article appeared, Fico personally called on the NDS and the ministry to publish the contract and, in turn, they asked SkyToll to agree to do so.
16. Mar 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports