“Collection of circulation fees for maintaining roads should have been carried out three years ago”, said Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang while replying to questions from the media at the regular government press conference on April 1.
“This complies with the Law on Road transport adopted by the National Assembly in 2009”, he stressed.
However, he added there would be no circulation fees for private vehicles or peak-hour fees for cars in city centres this year.
The fees have caused concern among the public over the last few months, since they would require each car and motorbike owner to pay up to an extra VND20-50 million (US$950-$2,380) per year.
Knowing that the hot topic was extra fees for vehicles in congested cities, Minister Thang explained that this policy is temporary and will be made redundant when Vietnam has developed fully with a better transport system.
The time frame for implementing these two fees is not yet fixed, according to the Transport minister. The proposal still awaits approval from the Prime Minister and the National Assembly.
"The Transport Ministry does not want to apply these two fees at the moment, given the country's credit crunch," said Thang.
Minister Thang explained that these two fee categories were initiatives from the Government and the National Assembly, and not from his ministry.
If a private vehicle fee is applied, it will affect some 600,000 private cars and millions of motorbikes in Vietnam's five biggest cities of Hanoi, HCMC, Da Nang, Hai Phong and Can Tho, according to the minister.
Poor people and suburban residents would not have to pay the fee, he said.
|Trafic jam in HCM city ( photo MT)|
Minister Thang said local governments would have control over the particular fees imposed. The Transport Ministry estimated that the personal vehicle charges taken from some 600,000 private cars alone could amount to VND12 trillion-15 trillion ($20 million-25 million) a year.
This money will be used to build roads, bridges and upgrade the infrastructure. In addition to this, collecting road maintenance fee also helps to avoid traffic jams and reduce traffic accidents, the minister argued.
The implementation of the road maintenance fee would also be postponed, the minister said, though it was put in place by the Road Traffic Law that took effect in 2009. The reason for the delay is that there are still no documents providing instructions on fee implementation.
The annual collection of fees for motorcycles and vehicles is a hot issue, raising concerns in the public.
Many people complained that the personal vehicle fee is ridiculous. Furthermore, they also expressed the idea that some fees are too high; quoting that the toll fee for the Ho Chi Minh-Trung Luong Expressway was far too high.