Finance minister Đinh Tiến Dũng on Tuesday said that the controversial asset tax will not be on the agenda at least until the next National Assembly (NA) semester, or 2021.— VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — Finance minister Đinh Tiến Dũng on Tuesday said that the controversial asset tax will not be on the agenda at least until the next National Assembly (NA) semester, or 2021.
During a group meeting of the NA on socio-economic affairs, Dũng took the chance to explain the ministry’s controversial new asset tax, saying that the ministry had not proposed it but was only carrying out the Party and the Government’s decisions.
Dũng said that the asset tax was in fact mentioned previously in Resolution 19 of the 11th Central Committee of Việt Nam’s Communist Party in 2012 and also appeared in the tax reform strategy for 2011-15 signed by Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng.
More recently, the Politburo in 2016 issued Resolution 07 on the restructuring of the State budget and public debt management which proposed research to apply an asset tax. The current National Assembly also proposed the tax in its Resolution 25/2016 on a five-year financial plan.
Dũng said that the new asset tax had sufficient legal basis to be brought to the table for serious discussion, which he even considered “already late”.
The debate on the asset tax broke out in April, following reports that the Ministry of Finance had prepared a draft law to tax houses and cars. Accordingly, houses worth over VNĐ700 million (US$31,100) and cars over VNĐ1.5 billion will be subject to the much maligned tax.
“We only pitched the idea for discussion and then we will integrate all opinions into a complete draft law and submit it for approval. It will be a long time until (the law) makes it to the National Assembly,” Dũng said.
“Even if we can realise the tax, it won’t be now but in the next (National Assembly) semester.”
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ, who also attended the meeting, confirmed that the Government had not yet put the tax proposal in its working agenda.
Huệ added that the Government was working with the World Bank, which is expected to send its best experts on the issue to Việt Nam this month to consult with the Government on the tax proposal.
BOT issue to be ‘resolved soon’
Transport minister Nguyễn Văn Thể at the same meeting expressed faith that the controversial BOT toll booth issue which has caused protests since last year will be resolved soon.
He admitted the toll collection of several booths set up on highways built under the Build-Operate-Transfer model had been a headache for the Government, and could very likely affect investment if not handled properly.
The Ministry of Transport will seek solutions to each problematic booth but in the long-term, the ministry will only build new roads and collect fees on them if existing parallel roads are overloaded, Thể said. He said that the authorities will no longer allow the construction of BOT toll booths on roads that have no other alternative options for road users.
“With solutions the Government has ordered and the Ministry of Transport is carrying out, we have faith that BOT-related issues will be resolved very soon,” Thể said.
Since last year, drivers have expressed their anger at BOT booths by intentionally causing trouble by paying fees with low-denomination notes, leading to congestion at toll gates and paralysing traffic for hours. The protests forced the Government to suspend the fee collection or reduce tolls at some BOT booths. — VNS