The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has proposed lowering the city's tax collection target, which the department fears it cannot meet.
The US$3.86 billion target set by the Finance Ministry was 17 percent higher than the total collected by the department last year and would make up 33 percent of the overall tax collection across the country.
HCMC Customs says there is no way it can collect that much in times of economic slump.
Customs tax payments collected from imports and exports increased only 3.8 percent year-on-year in 2012.
Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the HCMC People's Committee, was quoted by Saigon Times newspaper as saying the target was "too high" considering that the country's economy was unlikely to rebound from last year's slowdown any time soon.
Le Dinh Nam, head of HCMC Customs' import/export duties division, said the target was impossible and forecast that the sum of tax payments would increase only slightly this year from the $3.27 billion collected in 2012.
In October last year, the Finance Ministry lowered the tax collection target to $3.26 billion from the initial $3.8 set at the year's start, after it received many requests from the department.
The initial target last year was 16 percent higher than the city's total tax payments the previous year.
HCMC's imports and exports fell 0.65 percent last year to $66.7 billion.
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