Motorists have objected a plan by the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) to impose an ownership fee on car and motorbike owners.

In the proposal sent to the ministries of Finance, Transport, and Industry and Trade on May 31, the association said the Government should charge vehicle owners two to 10 times the cost of an imported vehicle to curb imports and limit traffic congestion. The fee will not be applied to low-cost motorbikes which are popular in rural areas and vehicles used for public transport.

VAFI general secretary Nguyen Hong Hai said vehicle imports had risen continuously over the last few years.

"Each year the country spends billions of US dollars importing them," he said.

"The money collected from the fee could be used to improve roads and public transport."

However, motorists were scathing about the proposal.

Hoang Thi Lan, who is looking to buy a Vespa LX, said if the proposal were approved, she would have to pay about 20,000 USD for the Italian motorbike, four times the current price.

"I'd rather buy a new car with that amount of money," she said.

An employee at a motorbike shop on Hue street , who withheld his name, said customers had been flocking to his shop to buy a motorbike.

"They believe motorbike prices are going to rise as a result of the proposal," he said.

Meanwhile, Pham Nhu Hung, deputy director of the Centre of Justice Support under the Ministry of Justice, said the tax was unfair.

"Owning property is a public right. It is not fair to force them to pay the ownership fee," he said.

Trinh Minh Hien, director of the Ministry of Transport's Legislation Department, said the number of cars on the country's roads should be limited but that the VAFI's strategy was wrong.

"We must carefully consider who will pay the fee, how to collect it and how much the fee should be," she said./.