HANOI (XINHUA) – Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice has put forward a plan to increase tax rates on non-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging, as well as impose new excise taxes on single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam, local newspaper Vietnam News reported yesterday.
A draft proposal, to be submitted to the National Assembly, is aimed to reduce the proliferation of the environmentally harmful products, discourage use, cut waste and tackle pollution issues in the country.
Vietnam has instituted a tax on plastic bags and packaging since 2012 with the tax rate currently levied at VND50,000 (USD2) per kilogramme.
Lawmakers argued that such a small levy has not effectively restricted the usage of disposable plastic items including food containers, bags, cutlery, cups, drink stirrers, and straws.
Statistics from the Ministry of Finance showed that tax revenues collected from plastic bags and packaging were small compared to the overall imports. In 2016, Vietnam imported USD65.6 million worth of plastic bags and collected about USD840,000 in plastic taxes.
Audit authorities said the tonnage of taxable plastic bags has been on a decline over the years, dropping 23 per cent between 2014 and 2017, while import volumes kept heading in the opposite direction, jumping 250 per cent in the same period.
Vietnam’s plastic pollution is increasing with little sign of slowing down as with rapid economic growth and changing urban lifestyles. Though the country has been trying to tackle its plastic habits for more than a decade, the result has fallen short.
According to a World Bank report released last year, the Southeast Asian country discharges an estimated 3.1 million metric tonnes of plastic waste on land annually with at least 10 per cent of this leaking into the waterway.
Since 1999, the annual usage has increased from 3.8 kilogrammes to 63 kilogrammes per person in 2017, according to data released by the Vietnam Plastics Association.