HA NOI (VNS) — Environmental protection fees paid to the Government by miners is supposed to be used by local authorities to offset environmental damage through revegetation and landscaping.
However, the fees have often been used incorrectly, former vice chairman of the Economic and Congressional Budget Committee, Dang Van Thanh said.
Government regulations state that local authorities are supposed to use the funds purely for environmental protection, but many localities report the money spent on other things, he added.
Only a few provinces used the fees to protect the environment, said Tran Thanh Thuy, co-ordinator of the Minerals Alliance.
Most provinces added the money to other revenues to pay wages for labourers and for other social activities, Thuy said.
Thuy said this was unfair to both the community and businesses. Many communities did not receive money for revegetation and other environmental work.
Meanwhile mining companies who paid various fees for environmental protection still had to deal with local authorities about uncompleted environmental issues.
Sometimes, protesting locals have interrupted mining operations.
Some experts claim that many provinces have used the fees incorrectly. They also claim that budget allocations for restoration work was based on the local population, not on the level of pollution.
This means some places get money they don't need or deserve, others that are entritled to the funds miss out.
This had been a real problem with budget allocations for many years, Dr Bui Thi An, the director of the Institute of Natural Resources Environment and Community Development told Tin Tuc (News) newspaper.
She also blamed the heads of local authorities responsible for managing funds for environmental protection. — VNS