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Hydro-power firms told to pay up

Update: September, 24/2014 - 08:58
The Deputy Prime Minister, Hoang Trung Hai, told provincial governments to order hydro-power plants to complete the payment to forest landowners.— Photo baobinhphuoc

HA NOI (VNS) — Many hydro-power plants have delayed paying annual charges for the preservation of catchment areas and associated forests used to produce electricity.

The situation has forced the Government to ask the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to put pressure on them to pay up.

This was revealed at an online conference on Saturday to review the three-year implementation of a policy on forest preservation charges.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Hoang Trung Hai, told provincial governments to order hydro-power plants to complete the payment to forest landowners.

Forest landowners, including local individuals, households and organisations, have been contracted and authorised by the Government to manage, exploit and take care of the trees.

The Deputy PM added that the charge to be paid by the hydro plants was tiny compared to what they made in just one price hike for power.

He said hydro-power plants had to pay only VND20 to landowners for every kilowatt-hour produced, but they could sell that hour for at least VND596.

Hai said MoIT should ask Viet Nam Electricity and its hydro-power companies to review and re-sign the contracts containing forest preservation charges in the price structure.

The plants should acknowledge the importance of forests and water preservation in Viet Nam since the country lacked fresh water and much of the treed environment had already been logged or destroyed.

The Prime Minister said VND3.3 trillion (US$155 million) had been paid to forest landowners and contracted households, giving them an average income of VND1.8 million (US$85) per year for management and stewardship of the forest.

In some provinces, the average income for contracted households was high including VND7.2 million and VND8 million (up to US$370) per year per household in Binh Phuoc and Lam Dong, respectively.

The policy had also improved the environmental knowledge of consumers and provided sustainable use and protection of the environment. — VNS

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