Le Hoang Minh, chief of the Office of the Central Road Maintenance Fund, explains to Vietnamplus.vn how annual motorbike fees in Viet Nam are set to be cut.
Why did Dinh La Thang, Minister of Transport, propose to Government that motorbike road fees be scrapped?
To implement Government policy to collect road maintenance fees from motorbike owners and cars, all 63 cities and provinces nation-wide have created funds for road maintenance by collecting fee on motorbikes.
According to the schedule, HCM City should have started to collect motorbike fees on the first day of July, 2015. But, it was reported that the city authority intended to annul fee collections.
After several fits and starts from people and law makers at the recent National Assembly meeting, Thang asked authorities from 63 cities and provinces to give feedback to his ministry on people's opinions about the collection of the annual fee and the challenges for provinces to collect them.
At a meeting organised by the Ministry of Transport [on Tuesday], some participants expressed concern about many aspects of collecting the fees, arguing that they should not be collected without social consensus.
Since the Government Decree 18 which was issued in 2012 on the collection of fees on motor vehicles, only a few provinces have started to collect the fee. Da Nang City and Khanh Hoa Province have already abolished the fee for motorbike owners while Ha Noi and HCM City are considering the matter.
In your opinion, has the fund been used effectively in provinces that have already collected the fee?
In provinces that motorbike fees have been collected, the fund has been efficiently used. The money has been put under strict management.
Many provinces want to have some funds for road maintenance work, but they have problems in collecting motorbike fees. Do you know why they have problems?
There are several factors leading to the delay in implementing the decree, but the main one is that some pay and some don't. It is unfair for people who pay!
In addition, the fee-collection method varies from one locality to another. In some provinces, the People's Committee at the communal level is assigned to do the job. People who do the job do not know much about how the fees are used.
According to statistics, the amount collected is much smaller than expected. When the Road Maintenance Fund was established, it was expected to collect about VND2.6 trillion ($119 million) annually.
However, in 2013, only VND520 billion ($23.8 million) was collected and in 2014, the amount was a little above VND500 billion ($22.9 million). By June 2015, about VND180 billion ($8.25 million) had been collected.
Will people who have paid their motorbike fees receive their money back if the Prime Minister agrees to waive them?
The collected fees are kept by local governments for road maintenance. If the Prime Minister approves the MOT's proposal, I think the Government will consult with the people on how to settle the problem to ensure a fair deal for the citizens.
If the PM agrees to waive the fees, local government will find it difficult to find funds for road maintenance. What do you think?
Every year, the State budget has to spend VND20 trillion ($917 million) on the maintenance of 18,000km of national road. However, the amount available for national road maintenance is just about VND6 trillion ($275 million), less than one third of the requirement.
That sum of money comes from the collection of auto-vehicle fee – VND3 trillion ($137.5 million) - while the other half comes from the State budget.
So in my opinion, local governments have to take responsibility to arrange their own budget for road maintenance in their city/province. — VNS