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NA says illegal mining out of control

Update: August, 16/2012 - 09:56

 

A view of the Vi Xuyen iron ore processing factory in northern Ha Giang Province. A recent report says that inspection of government mechanisms to protect the environment are not observed by many operators, particularly those working illegally. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tam
HA NOI — Top lawmakers have agreed that stronger and more realistic measures are necessary to complete the legal framework required to shore up activities related to natural resources exploitation in accordance with environment protection.

During the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee's discussion session in Ha Noi yesterday, NA deputies urged for measures to enhance the quality and effect of supervision on the implementation to meet the management requirement, and prevent and punish any violations.

A report heard at the session regarding the implementation of policies and laws related to natural resources exploitation showed that the inspection and supervision on losses of resources and environmental protection had not been paid enough attention. Meanwhile, the exploitation technology was said to be obsolete, awareness in work safety low and violations on environment regulations were high.

According to the report, the number of enterprises involved in mining had increased from 427 in 2000 to nearly 2,000 currently.

Most of the enterprises, especially the large-scale ones or joint-ventures with partners from developed countries, were reportedly performing well in the implementation of policies and laws.

However, the report pointed out some shortcomings of the implementation, including the lack of synchronisation between exploitation planning and local socio-economic development, the shortage of evaluation on environmental impacts and the lack of pledges on environmental protection.

One of the most concerning issues came from the issuance of licenses on exploitation and processing. A report showed that from 2005 to 2008, people's committees in central-Governmental cities and provinces had issued nearly 3,500 licenses for exploitation, seven-fold higher than the total number of licenses issued by the Government in 12 years.

The protection of unexploited natural resources and the set-up of a non-exploitation zone had also not received enough attention.

During discussions, NA deputies also asked for clarification regarding the role of the State and the responsibilities of relevant ministries and sectors in managing the exploitation.

In the morning session yesterday, the deputies discussed the revised Law on Tax Management and the draft Law of National Reserves.

After hearing the report on the revision of the tax management law by the NA's Committee on Finance and Budgets, the deputies discussed the responsibilities of tax management agencies in tax refunds, the role of the National Assembly in regulating the deadline of tax payments and the enforcement of the law.

Regarding illegal tax declarations or late tax payments, the deputies said that the current fine of 0.05 per cent a day, which equates to 18.25 per cent a year, was too low, and would lead to losses in the State budget.

The deputies also agreed that one of the major reasons for revising the law on tax management was to deal with the loss of revenue.

They urged the National Assembly to take charge of tax exemptions, while the extension of tax payments should be for the Government, which meant the Prime Minister would have the right to extend tax payments for every individual case, including groups, corporations, and enterprises.

Concluding the session, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said that the revision of the tax law must balance the targets of creating favourable conditions for tax payers and tax collectors, as well as tightening the inspection and supervision to prevent violations on tax regulations.

"Simplicity and transparency will help avoid wrongdoings in tax management," he said. — VNS

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