Minister of Government Office Mai Tien Dung says Formosa Ha Tinh Steel will pay their $500 million compensation immediately. Photo by VnExpress
The Vietnamese government said it will prioritize the $500 million in compensation from Taiwan's Formosa Ha Tinh Steel (FHS) for citizens in central provinces after the company was officially named the culprit of the mass fish deaths yesterday at a press conference in Hanoi.
Government Office Minister Mai Tien Dung told VnExpress that FHS has pledged to pay $500 million in compensation following a formal apology to Vietnam for polluting the country's central coast.
“Formosa pledged to immediately pay the full amount of $500 million to Vietnam,” said Dung. The Vietnamese government will prioritize the money for people, especially fishermen, affected by the mass fish deaths in four central coastal provinces, the minister said.
In addition, the government will assign ministries, agencies and localities to form compensation plans, including helping people to find new jobs and developing sustainable environmental treatment, he added.
"In the long-term, the government will review licensing procedures and environmental regulations, especially the licensing conditions for the environmental impact assessment reports required for investment projects,” said Dung.
Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked ministries to review environmental protection standards applicable to businesses.
"All responsible officials who were involved in the incident, regardless of their rank and position, will be punished according to the law,” Tuan said.
In early April, large quantities of fish washed up dead near the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province. The disaster stretched 200 kilometers along the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Thua Thien-Hue, resulting in the death of more than 70 tons of sea fish and 35 tons of farm-raised fish.
The provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue were the worst hit, where thousands of fishermen lost customers or were forced to sell at a loss.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel belongs to Formosa Plastics Group (Taiwan) and is expected to be completed in 2017 with total investment of nearly $1 billion. The project features a steel mill complex designed to produce 15 million tons of steel annually.