Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong spoke with Vietnam News Agency about the new road-use fee and the proposed personal vehicle fee.
Some people believe the new fees are a financial burden for both people and enterprises while the petrol price is increasing. What do you think about this?
The collection of road-use fees will be implemented under the Law on Road Traffic promulgated in 2008. Recently, the Government also signed a decree specifically ruling on the fee collection.
As you know, a decree is a sub-law document that involves a long process to collect ideas from relevant agencies and industries. Upon calculation, the new fee does not have a strong impact or disrupt daily life because it's small in comparison with the transport fee.
Motorbikes will be subject to a VND100,000 (US$7) annual fee, equivalent to approximately five litres of petrol, equivalent to about 100 kilometres of driving.
The road-use fee is not high for other types of vehicles either. The important thing is how the funds are used after they're collected. The money is set to improve traffic infrastructure, so travel costs will be lower thanks to convenient travel and lower fuel consumption.
Although the State budget is limited, the State still allocates annual funds for road maintenance. So we should learn from the experiences of other countries, who include road-use fees in petrol or vehicle taxes, to strengthen the road maintenance fund.
The personal vehicle fee also aims to limit the increasing number of vehicles and invest more in traffic infrastructure. To do this, it is necessary for people to pay their share.
Will the ministry ensure higher quality roads once the fees are implemented?
The quality of roads must be improved gradually. We will build criteria to assess road quality. We believe that if we collect fees from road users, we will comprehensively change the repair and maintenance of the roads.
In parallel with this, the ministry has compiled a project to inspect the loading capacity of vehicles along with ideas from ministries, industries and localities before submitting a specific proposal to the Government.
What are the suggested fees based on?
The suggested fees are based on experiences from other countries in comparison with relevant factors including Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For example, road users have to pay RMB1 ($0.15) for each kilometre driven in China but their GDP is much higher than Viet Nam's, so we will compare the fees against our nation's GDP to identify how high or low the fee should be in comparison with the GDP.
Could you provide information on how the road-use fee will be collected? What solutions will the ministry give to ensure fairness in fee collection as some vehicles travel more than others?
Car owners will pay the road-use fees at registration agencies. Owners will be able to pay the fee directly or pay at their vehicle registration deadlines with the flexible schedule of one month, three months, six months and one year.
To ensure fairness, we set up the fee based on calculating the average level of kilometres that a vehicle travels. In a developed country like Japan, they also collect fees based on loading capacity and per vehicle.
How transparent are the fees?
The method to ensure transparency of the fees is under discussion. However, a non-governmental fund management board will be set up such as the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and units will also be established in localities. Plans for using the fund must be public. — VNS