In response to the stir following newly proposed personal vehicle fees, Vietnam's transport minister Dinh La Thang insists that the fees are necessary and fair.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Thang said personal vehicle fees are among the measures that will reduce traffic jams and accidents, newswire Dan Tri reported.
"Circulation fees serve many purposes like restricting personal vehicles, increasing investment into improving traffic infrastructure, as well as budget for anti-traffic jam measures," he said.
"Only after paying the fees, are people allowed to drive their vehicles."
Under the ministry's proposal recently submitted to the government, motorbikes would have to pay between VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.70-$47.50) per year. Cars would have to pay between VND20-VND50 million (US$951-$2,300) annually.
The ministry also proposed cars, with the exception of public transports and buses, to pay fees of between VND30,000-VND50,000 (US$1.40-$2.40) when entering or leaving local city centers during rush hour.
According to Thang, the proposal was based on resolutions and decrees on measures issued by the government and the National Assembly to lessen traffic congestion and accidents.
Regarding complaints that Vietnamese are subject to too many traffic-related fees, such as those for road maintenance, environment and licenses, the minister said all the fees are clear and they guarantee "social fairness" vehicle drivers have to make contributions to infrastructure investment, he said.
Thang also denied accusations that the personal vehicle fees were just another version of road maintenance fees.
Road maintenance fees, which are pending the government's green light, would help to maintain local streets every year. But the fees are estimated to meet some 75 percent of maintenance costs, and the government has to provide support for the remaining 25 percent, Dan Tri quoted Thang as saying.
Meanwhile, the new personal vehicle fees would be submitted to the state budget for different projects, he said.
Asked if the new personal vehicle fees would create a hardship for poor people who earn a living with their motorbikes, Thang said the ministry proposed fees of VND500,000 per year for motorbikes with small capacities, which are mainly used by the poor.
Motorbikes with more than 175 cubic centimeters of power have to pay almost double, because they are usually used by people who like to show off, he stressed.