The Ministry of Finance's proposal that State-owned enterprises (SOEs), which were under restructuring progress be forgiven tax arrears, did not receive consensus from the National Assembly (NA) Deputies.


NA Deputies said that the proposal, if passed, would not ensure a fair playground for businesses while denying accountabilities of SOEs in using State capitals and assets.

Previously, the finance ministry, which was compiling amendments to the tax management law, proposed that SOEs in the list of those to be privatised, merged or rearranged be freed from tax arrears and deferred payments.

The ministry's proposal covered forgiving debts of SOEs with tax debts equal to or higher than their aggregated losses and SOEs with tax debts to their values remained unverified after restructuring.

According to Chairman of the NA's Finance and State Budget Committee PhungQuocHien, the proposal must be carefully considered to prevent SOEs from taking advantage to be free from tax debts.

Deputy Duong TrungQuoc, delegate from Dong Nai Province said that erasing tax debts for SOEs would ignore accountabilities in using the State capitals and assets, ringing an alarming bell.

Tran Du Lich, NA delegate for HCM City said he did not agree with forgiving tax debts for SOEs. Except government-guaranteed debts, SOEs must be responsible for paying other debts in line with the established laws, Lich said.

The NA delegate for Thai Binh Province, Do Van Ve, said policies and measures to prop up businesses were critical during after-crisis period. However, businesses must all be equal. Freeing tax debts of SOEs would only fail to ensure fairness between SOEs and the private sectors, not to mention that SOEs already received a lot of incentives.

Last month, the Ministry of Finance proposed to free tax debts worth totally VND10 trillion or US$446.4 million for SOEs, resulting in harsh criticism from economists.