|Da Nang City decided to temporarily stop fee collection last Tuesday and was followed by Khanh Hoa Province a day later. — Photo danangplus.net
HA NOI (VNS) — The debate on whether to completely eliminate the collection of road maintenance fees from motorbike users is boiling again after two localities unilaterally postponed the fee last week.
Da Nang City decided to temporarily stop fee collection last Tuesday and was followed by Khanh Hoa Province a day later.
Such moves are seen by many as a signal for removal of the fee on a national scale.
Unfairness was one of the most popular reasons that experts and National Assembly representatives are using to convince the Government the unreasonableness of such road maintenance fee.
As the fee legislation states, motorbike riders have to pay more than VND100,000 (US$4.50) a vehicle a year for road maintenance work. This means they have to pay the fees no matter how much they use the roads.
The maximum fee to be collected from a motorbike is clearly legislated, but the minimum, on the other hand, is up to each locality to decide.
"That there is no legislation on the minimum fee implies that localities can settle it down at zero," National Assembly representative for Ha Noi Bui Thi An told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
"Setting the fee at zero is the same as not collecting it at all".
This was unfair, said Tran Ngoc Vinh from the National Assembly Legal Committee.
"If there is fee applied on a national scale, it means that, in principle, only few cases will be fee-exempted, for example poor households. All other citizens will have to pay the fee," he said.
"If a locality refuses to collect the fee while another continues to do it, it would be unfair for the citizens."
The ineffective cost-benefits of collections also caught flak from the lawmakers.
A recent report by the Khanh Hoa People's Committee, one of the two localities that postponed the collection of motorbike's road maintenance fee, said that a huge number of officers had to be deployed to residential areas across the province to collect the fee, yet the outcome was below expectations.
The fee significantly decreased through years with a 55 per cent plunge from more than VND9.7 billion ($441,000) in 2013 down to VND5.4 billion ($245,500) in 2014, and stopped at VND650 million ($29,500) in the first six months of this year. — VNS