While global oil prices fall, Vietnamese government increases taxes

Observers believe that whenever domestic consumers are about to benefit from a fall in global oil prices, the Vietnamese government will take every measure at hand to raise taxes and extort money from them. This has become a clear trend in the recent years.

Last year, when the world crude oil prices were on a steady decrease, the Ministry of Finance kept raising taxation. For example, when global crude oil prices got below 60 USD/barrel, the Ministry immediately boosted petroleum taxation from between 25 and 30% to the record rate of 40%. They explained that import duty on petroleum must be increased to make up for the budget deficit that resulted from previous falls in global oil prices.

The trend to raise taxation continues despite opposing public opinion.

Additionally, the government has decided recently to make a three-fold increase in “environmental protection tax”.

As a result, petroleum prices have doubled in May and experienced a 28% increase compared to late last year. Except the state-owned petroleum corporation, many entrepreneurs grumbled over failing to estimate costs, largely energy prices, for their business plans. At the same time, consumers wondered why they could not benefit anything from sharp falls in global oil prices.

Bloggers produce stickers and slogans saying "Increasing petroleum prices means extorting money from the poor."

Bloggers produce stickers and slogans saying “Increasing petroleum prices means extorting money from the poor.”

In online forums and social media networks, some Internet users have made comments implying a demonstration to protest at oil price policies. If such a demonstration could be organized, it would be the first time bloggers in Vietnam were able to raise their voice on a purely socio-economic issue whereas previous protest rallies, if any, only revolved around the Sino-Vietnam relations or territorial disputes in the region.

Some bloggers in Hanoi and Saigon even managed to print out slogans opposing domestic oil price policies and had them glued on electric posts. But these slogans were removed shortly afterwards by police and the so-called “civil order defenders” force.