Chen Yatang, member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said on Tuesday that an environmental compensation mechanism for resources exploitation should be set up and resources taxes and tariffs for environmental protection should be raised as part of China's development of western provinces.
Chen, a medical doctor, made the remark at a meeting held by the National Committee of the CPPCC to discuss issues regarding the country's six-year old "Go West" strategy.
Chen suggested raising the resources tax on coal to five yuan per ton from the existing 2-3 yuan per ton and charging resources taxes in accordance with reserves possessed by enterprises so as to reduce waste of resources.
Duan Yingbi, vice director of the CPPCC's Economy Committee and former vice director of the State Council's Western Region Development Leading Group, said at the meeting, "I found in research that resources exploited and transported out of a county in the west are worth more than 300,000 yuan (US$36,232) per day while the per capita annual income of the local residents is just 1,000 yuan (US$120). The current levying standard of resources tax and allocation ratio should be adjusted to have the western people benefit from resources exploitation."
In addition, tariffs for environmental protection in coal exploitation should be raised from the current 0.2 yuan per ton to 2 yuan with the added revenue spent on building environmental protection facilities in western regions.
The proportion of resources compensation fees collected by central and local governments in provinces in the west should also be altered, suggested Chen, adding that the present half-half ratio should be changed to the central government getting 40 percent and local government 60 percent.
Establishing an effective market mechanism for resources compensation is vital, according to Chen. He called for putting mining rights up for auction and drawing a certain percentage from the funds. This sum, plus the resources compensation fees, should be used in controlling geological disasters, ecological devastation and other social problems.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, August 8, 2006)