Cuts Made In Public Contributions To Road Fund

Source: Vientiane Times

Vientiane authorities have offered to significantly reduce the public’s contribution to the Vientiane People’s Road Fund following widespread complaints about the costs involved.

The authorities in charge are revising the first draft of the details of the Fund, which was approved by the Vientiane People’s Council in June, and originally spelled out large fees to be paid by vehicle owners in the capital.

The authorities, deputy ministers, director generals of various departments, representatives of state enterprises and the sectors concerned convened for a two-day meeting last week to share their views and revise the charges.

The revised draft offers a significant cut in the size of the contribution to be paid by members of the public, Vientiane Vice Mayor Keophilavanh Aphailath told Vientiane Times yesterday.

For example, the revision reduces the amount to be paid by the owners of 6-18 wheel trucks from one million kip to 350,000 kip.

Likewise, the original stated amounts of 500,000 kip for a 45-seat bus, 400,000 kip for a 25-seat bus, and 300,000 kip for passenger minibuses and taxis were all cut to 262,500 kip.

The initial 500,000 kip required for a private car, an SUV, pick-up truck or van with engine less than 3,000cc in size was cut to 175,000 kip.

Three-wheeled passenger vehicles such as tuk-tuks and jumbos, as well as motorbikes, would be subject to a charge of 87,500 kip according to the revision.

The final draft will be submitted to the government and the National Assembly for approval before the Fund comes into effect, Mr Keophilavanh said.

�We expect to submit the draft to next week’s meeting between the government cabinet, Vientiane Mayor and provincial governors,� he added.

Vientiane is pushing for the Fund, which seeks to collect money for the construction of new roads, road repairs and payment of debts incurred by previous road construction projects, to come into effect by next year as originally planned.

Mr Keophilavanh said the Fund was set to be piloted until 2020 and then authorities in charge would draw up lessons learnt from the initiative and determine its future direction.

Participants in last week’s meeting suggested that in disbursing the money collected, priority be given to the construction and repair of new roads so as to deliver tangible results.

They also called for an inspection to update the number of vehicles being driven in Vientiane.

The Fund, which is in need of supplementary contributions from the public, was created because the capital has struggled to source sufficient money to finance road construction and repair. Additionally, Vientiane has accumulated considerable debt from previous road construction projects.

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