|Photo: Suc Khoe Doi Song
Citizens should be able to pay their traffic fines on Vietnam’s national public services portal, Ngo Hai Phan, Head of the Administrative Procedure Control Agency (APCA) under the Government Office, said at a Monday meeting in Hanoi.
Currently, paying traffic fines is a cumbersome offline process. Citizens have to contact the concerned government entity at least three times and wait for 10 to 72 days in order to retrieve their confiscated documents or vehicles after paying their fines.
Phan said this procedure was not only time-consuming and strenuous, but it also allowed corruption and negative experiences to take place.
It is not uncommon that traffic police receive bribes from citizens after the latter are caught violating traffic law. The bribe is either initiated by the violator who wants to avoid paying a bigger fine or have their documents or vehicles confiscated, or by the police officers who are willing to let violator off for a price.
In March last year, a 7-minute video published by Tien Phong newspaper captured 14 traffic policers in Hanoi receiving cash from dozens of drivers who were stopped for traffic violations. The footage shows VND100,000 - 200,000 ($4.32 - 8.64) bills were slipped into the officers' hands or put between their paper files. The officers in the video showed no reaction when the money was being inserted or took the money directly from the citizens.
After the video went viral, 14 officers and their six superiors were suspended for a month.
Considering there are four million traffic violations committed every year in Vietnam, Phan of APCA said Vietnam would save VND1.3 trillion ($56.2 million) each year with a digitalized process.
Under the new proposal, citizens can log onto the portal and search for the tickets on their violations and find out the fine they have to pay, the concerned account of the government agency and pay it online.
After the payment is verified, they can retrieve their confiscated documents or vehicles directly or via post.
Supporting the proposal, Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho said at the meeting that the payment method can also be used for railways and airways. However, he also expressed concern about the budget and legal corridors needed to implement it.
Major General Le Xuan Duc, Deputy Director of Traffic Police Department said although the proposal was in line with the traffic police’s expectations, several challenges exist in Vietnam’s law on handling administrative violations and shared databases.
Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of the Government Office, said he has asked concerned departments to quickly amend the law so that the online fine payment becomes a reality.
The national public services portal, which is expected to open next month, has been described by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as an e-document exchange platform where quicker and safer delivery of official documents is possible. The portal will be built and managed by the Government Office.