Oil price cuts should not be linked to fuel tax reform, says an article in the Beijing News. The following is an excerpt:
Thousands of car owners submitted a joint petition to the National Development and Reform Commission recently, asking it to lower oil price before levying the fuel tax.
Their petition is reasonable, for oil price cuts and fuel tax are two separate issues. The former is to straighten out price mechanism and the latter concerns tax reform. The two can be conducted separately rather than being linked together.
Tax experts said the levy of fuel tax has already been authorized by the central government and does not need the nod from the National People's Congress.
However, fuel tax concerns the public interest and the public should get involved in deciding the rate. Issues such as road maintenance fees and highway tolls and the fuel tax rate should not be decided by the administrative department alone behind closed doors.
It is true fuel tax reform is a complicated issue, yet we do not have to wait until its launch to cut oil price. We should have already cut it in sync with the international market.
(China Daily November 26, 2008)