- says ban on importing vehicles older than 8 yrs should be extended to 12 yrs
By Kristen Macklimgam
In light of thousands of Guyanese from the lower middle class and poor strata in society being directly affected from the government’s proposed restriction of importation of used and/or re-conditioned vehicles to under eight years old from the date of manufacture to the date of importation, Former President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, is urging the administration to instead extend this period to vehicles12 years old.
He told reporters at a media briefing today that most of the auto dealers in the country opined that the eight-year stipulation will have a negative impact on a large number of people since most of the vehicles being imported to date are over eight years old.
According to Jagdeo, the auto dealers also related that there is a “huge market among poor people, ordinary people” for these types of vehicles and some of them cannot even afford the purchase prices with one payment hence they buy them “on terms”.
“It is a certain group of people who purchase these vehicles so they will have to find at least 30 per cent more to buy that vehicle, so I am asking the Minister of Finance and President David Granger to extend this eight-year restriction to 12 years, so that this group of people can continue to drive a vehicle and not have the additional burden of finding $1M and more for the acquisition of a vehicle,” he said.
The Opposition Leader explained that while this may have been one measure in supporting the concept of a “green economy” which has been announced by the government of the day he had always sought to have a balance in the strong push from a “green economy” with the need to improve people’s lifestyles while not bringing additional burdens on the citizens.
“Of course there would be more cost for importation of some of the spare parts but you have to balance it against poor people’s desires to own something and drive it and therefore I am urging the increase from eight to 12 years for the ban.
“In terms of heavy vehicles, trucks, in particular, trucks, canters, etc, this measure can potentially shut down the mining sector…It could have a crippling impact on mining and transportation across the country,” the former president stated.
Dr Jagdeo pointed out that while the APNU+AFC administration has declared that it is desirous of helping small contractors , this new ban will adversely affect them and the country.
He further explained that the price for a single-axle type truck presently costs between $5M and $6M and if the new ban is implemented by government then the price could rise to about $18M, three times more, for the same vehicle type.
Meanwhile, a double-axle type truck is said to cost between $9M and $10M but with the new move by the administration in relation to the ban the price for the same category of engine will average $27M.
“Now clearly this will harm transportation, it will harm the contractors, it will harm the construction industry because the cost of moving sand, everything will move up. It will harm the mining sector because most of those trucks are over eight (8) years old; it will also harm the rice industry and is a measure that will bring significant hardships on the productive sectors of our economy,” Jagdeo posited.
The Opposition Leader also made reference to the pick-up trucks which travel in and out of the interior regions which are said to be about 10 to 12 years old.
He said that even if some of these trucks were eight years old, more often than not they would not be found in the vehicle markets and the ones which are for sale would be very costly.
“So the pickups that are used in the interior and the canter trucks, etc, that are used by many people they are 10 to 12 years old. So I heard again that the British army and the other armies that release some of these trucks release them after 15 t0 20 years so I am urging the government to either remove this restriction, this eight-year ban on these types of vehicles coming into the country, or go to between 15 to 20 years. Put a restriction at that level that would allow some of these trucks that are being used in the interior and the other places across the country to continue being used without any major escalation in their costs,” Jagdeo further stated.