The Government's annual outlay for road maintenance only meets 60 per cent of the need, the Viet Nam Road Administration has said.
HCM CITY —
Viet Nam has 279,927km of roads, with a kilometre normally needing around VND164.5 million (US$8,000) for maintenance.
Deputy Minister of Transport Ngo Thinh Duc told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper: "For their mountain terrain, provinces in the Central Highlands and north-western regions ask for even more.
"In the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, roads deteriorate quickly due to water."
This year severe floods and storms destroyed 70 roads.
Duc also pointed out that with the number of vehicles skyrocketing, most roads, which are not ideally maintained due to paucity of funds, are deteriorating faster than usual.
To resolve the problem, he suggested creating a fund for road maintenance and enlarging the system to prevent overloading of vehicles which too affects roads.
The fund will be established at both the central and local levels and money for it will be sourced from the Government, toll, and tax on petrol.
In the next five to 10 years, when all toll stations are closed, the money will come only from petrol taxes.
But the Ministry of Finance has been lukewarm about this proposal, saying many people buy petrol for operating machinery and not vehicles.
Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said: "The Ministry of Transport should study the system in developed nations for raising money for road maintenance based, for instance, on how many kilometres a vehicle runs."
Besides, the tax on petrol and oil is set to be abolished on January 1, 2012, when the Environment Protection Law will take effect, imposing a levy of VND1,000-4,000 per litre. — VNS