Proposed tax to have ‘major’ impact on Vietnam offshore fishers
The tax is proposed in the government’s draft amendments to the Law on Corporate Income Tax that has been submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee for consideration.
Fishermen Le Van Tien from Xuan Ha Ward in central Danang City’s Thanh Khe District said his work was not only for daily bread but also a traditional profession inherited from previous generations.
He said the government should not impose tax on offshore fishing at all. A tariff of 10 per cent might not be a high level for the State but it was considerable for fishermen because the job was risky and did not bring stable income.
Vo Thien Lang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries Association, said corporate income tax imposed on offshore fishing cooperatives or seafood processing companies would adversely affect fishermen.
Due to difficulties in the consumer market, cooperatives and companies would seek ways to maintain profits which could mean paying less to fishermen.
This meant that fishermen would be taxed indirectly, Lang added.
Currently, local authorities are encouraging fishermen to set up offshore cooperatives, rather than working independently, to lower costs and lengthen the time they are at sea. If the tax was applied, these measures to motivate fishermen would be ineffective.
Economist Nguyen Minh Phong, from the Hanoi Socio-economic Research Institute, said fishing companies should be exempt from corporate income tax because Vietnam’s marine economy is very significant.
The tax exemption would encourage them to go catching and contribute to national security and sovereignty protection on territorial waters, Phong added.
Pham Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries, said most of these companies were small or medium-sized, while fishermen often faced many risks, whether it be natural disasters or collisions with foreign ships. Thus, both enterprises and fishermen deserved priority consideration.
If they enjoy tax exemption, they would have more capital accumulated and use it to re-invest in production, which would bring more benefits to the country, Tuan added.
In the first two months of this year, the volume of seafood caught was 447,000 tonnes, earning an export revenue of US$876 million.