|After several fits and starts, the Ministry of Transport has veered around to the view that an annual road maintenance fee on motorbikes should be annulled. — Photo vietnamplus.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — After several fits and starts, the Ministry of Transport has veered around to the view that an annual road maintenance fee on motorbikes should be annulled.
Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said at a meeting on Tuesday that his ministry will work with the Ministry of Finance on a proposal to the Government, recommending that the annual fee on motorbikes should be cancelled.
At the meeting organised by the transport ministry and attended by officials of the finance and planning and investment ministries, Thang said the two ministries will propose amendments to Decree 18, which was issued in 2012 to collect fees on motor vehicles.
But the road-maintenance fee on cars and trucks will remain, Thang said.
Under Decree 18, the road maintenance fee on cars and trucks will be collected when the vehicles are registered and remitted directly to the National Fund for Road Maintenance.
It left the collection of motorbike fees to the discretion of local authorities, who would then use a portion of it for maintaining local roads.
However, since the decree came into effect in 2013, only a few provinces have started to collect this fee, and many others have been hesitant to do so because of resistance from motorbike owners.
At Tuesday's meeting, several participants expressed concerns over many aspects of collecting the fee on motorbikes, arguing that it should not collected without social consensus.
While acknowledging that not collecting the fee would mean that the State Budget would lose a source of revenue, they said it would be difficult for local authorities to impose penalties strong enough to enforce compliance.
Lack of uniformity
Tuesday's meeting of the ministries took place after two central provinces waived 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.
These moves were interpreted by many as a signal for removal of the fee on a national scale.
Also on Tuesday, in a meeting with voters in Ha Noi, Mayor Nguyen The Thao pledged to consider waiving the fee for motorbike owners.
When some of the voters cited Da Nang and Khanh Hoa and asked him why Ha Noi should not follow suit, Thao said the waiver proposal was a "good idea worthy of consideration."
Ha Noi began to collect the fee in July 2013, charging VND50,000 (US$2.5) on motorbikes up to 100cc capacity, and VND100,000 ($5) for those with higher engine capacities.
The dissatisfied voters have been backed by experts as well as National Assembly deputies who have told the Government that the current situation is unfair.
Tran Ngoc Vinh of the National Assembly's Legal Committee said: "If a locality refuses to collect the fee while another continues to do it, it would be unfair for residents who have to pay". — VNS