Ministry plans to maintain roads with new fuel tax

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Vietnam's Ministry of Transport says it does not have enough money to improve infrastructure and thus will tax fuel purchases to fund road maintenance.

The government can now provide only VND2 trillion (US$105 million) a year for road maintenance, or only 40-50 percent of the total funds needed, Transport Minister Ho Nghia Dung was quoted by local media as saying at a press briefing Tuesday.

There are 30 million motorbikes and 1.5 million automobiles in Vietnam and the public needs to contribute to road maintenance, Dung said.

"This will help ensure road quality," he said, noting that it's more efficient to maintain roads regularly than have them repaired when they are broken.

The plan to impose the fee will be submitted to the government at the end of June, the Transport Ministry said. The revenues from the fee will generate more than VND3.4-VND3.6 trillion ($179-189 million) for the national road maintenance fund.

Under the plan, another proposal is to ask vehicle owners pay for road use directly. Motorbike owners would pay a one-time fee of VND300,000-1.5 million ($15-79) when they have a new motorbike registered if the plan is approved. A monthly fee for cars and trucks could range from VND100,000 to VND207,000 ($5.2-10.9).

Dung said it would be better to charge road users through fuel purchases as the more they drive, the more they have to pay.

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