|The HCM City People's Council would scrap the motorbike fee if it had the right to do so, its chairwoman told the House on Tuesday during a discussion on the controversial annual fee. — Photo Vo Phuong
HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City People's Council would scrap the motorbike fee if it had the right to do so, its chairwoman told the House on Tuesday during a discussion on the controversial annual fee.
Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam had also expressed opposition to the fee at a recent National Assembly session.
"Although we had a lot of doubts, the People's Council has issued a resolution saying the Government's decree should be followed," Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted her as saying at the meeting city.
"[So] now the most important thing is how we can collect and effectively use the fee. I trust city residents will comply with the law."
Nguyen Van Dua, a former deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, said collecting the fee is a way to mobilise people's strength.
"We should encourage people to pay the fee because many other provinces that have a lower GDP than HCM City have already collected it.
But Tran Trong Dung, a District 8 delegate, said his voters do not want to pay the fee.
"They already have to pay a lot of fees and charges, and now they have pay more, making it harder for them."
He called for a vote in the House to decide whether or not to collect the fee and how.
Lam Thieu Quan of District 5 said, "I know it is a very tricky issue for the People's Council because if we do not collect the fee, it means we are flouting the law, but if we do we will face failure like other provinces."
He was referring to the fact that in many provinces only a fraction of the motorbike-owning population has paid up.
If the city does go ahead and collect the fee, a special software to clearly monitor the collection and penalties for those who do not pay are essential, he said.
Dang Thi Hong Lien, chairwoman of the District 9 People's Committee, said her district was the first one to start collecting.
In the first stage, it could only get 43,700 out of 84,000 owning motorbikes to even register, she said.
"We collected fees at the ward level, but it was too difficult. Then we have set up a task force to collect during weekends.
"But in a month we could get only VND1.2 billion (US$55,000) from 13,000 motorbike owners."
The district has temporarily stopped collecting because many provinces as well as the transport minister have protested against the fee.
"From our experience, it is very hard to collect the fee and it is not fair if some pay but others do not. Our district will make refunds."
Lam Dinh Chien of District 10 said: "If the whole country has asked not to collect, it is funny for HCM City to start doing it. People complain about what they have to pay already, and we should not burden them more."
Another issue that attracted concern was water supply. Lam Dinh Chien of District 10 expressed the fear that the target of supplying 100 per cent of city households by the end of this year would not be achieved.
"We must have detailed solutions to carry out and monitor the task because it is already July end."
He also raised the issue of wastage of 30 per cent of fresh water, saying "consumers should not be made to bear the whole loss; the water supplier must bear half."
Nguyen Tan Tai of District 10, said, "Many voters would like the city to investigate and do not want to pay for the water loss."
A representative of the Sai Gon Water Supply Company (Sawaco) said it has managed to reduce the loss percentage to under 32 per cent as required by the city.
Truong Thi Anh, deputy chairwoman of the council, tabled a report on the programme to supply fresh water to all households by this year.
"Many people in remote areas and apartments paying a higher price for fresh water.
"Around 150,000 households use water from wells instead of pipe water." — VNS