The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade faced public adversity concerning the transparency of their decisions.
Vietnam Petroleum Association (Vinpa) filed complaint to the Prime Minister, saying that the Ministry of Finance has been wrongfully collecting VND350 billion (USD16.8 million)of tax arrears from them.
According to the MoF, a huge volume of commodities, which were temporarily imported for re-export since early 2012, were converted for domestic use. The ministry then issued a decree at the end of 2012 in order to force companies to pay taxes for those goods.
However, because Vietnam’s tax rates were often adjusted so that the taxes must be paid at the end of 2012 were higher than early in the year. Based on the new decree, the MoF then collected taxes from companies. Vinpa paid the taxes but opposed the decision, saying that they have always followed tax laws. In addition, firms also say a new system should be applied to commodities imported since the end of last year, not for the whole goods imported in early of that year.
According to Vinpa, they already made a balance sheet for 2012, so every excess cost would have been added to 2013. The MoF’s decision to collect tax arrears will make other people think that firms are attempting tax evasion. Vinpa has asked the MoF to return the money.
Recently, Vinpa also made comments against MoF’s decision to control the commission fees for retailers at the highest rate of VND430 per litre. Vinpa said it takes at least VND550 per litre for retailers to recover capital and make some profits.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade also encountered problems. In July, companies opposed the plan to apply separate power prices for the cement industry and the steel industry, which is 2% to 16% higher.
The deputy minister of Industry and Trade said that cement and steel industries consume over 10.5% of total energy produced, due to outdated equipment. In response, firms pointed out that even electricity sector is also using outdated technology and demanded fair treatment.
The plan to separate power prices was later cancelled.