Car Dealers Seeking Urgent Answers on Policy From Commerce Ministry

Drivers are risking their lives in vehicles that were not built for the Myanmar road system, industry professionals complain.

The Authorised Automobile Distributors’ Association wants the government to clarify car import rules and to end the confusion they say has brought “dark days” to their industry.

The distributors hope to meet Commerce Minister U Than Myint tomorrow while he is visiting Yangon, AADA president U Aung Win told The Myanmar Times yesterday, although the meeting has not yet been confirmed.

Dealers want to clear up the confusion surrounding the status of car showrooms.

“We’ve had no satisfaction from the commerce ministry so far. We’re waiting for a policy statement,” he said.

“First showrooms were allowed to open and foreign investment was encouraged. Then they changed the policy without notice. This is a dark period for car showroom owners. They don’t know what to do,” said U Aung Win, referring to various government attempts to slow the influx of imported vehicles to help relieve Yangon’s notorious traffic congestion.

The former government allowed showrooms to open in December 2013 and car sales were strong in 2014, U Aung Win said. Last year, 146,000 units were imported, but only 2 percent were brand new, he added.

Many of these were right-hand drive, unsuitable for Myanmar’s right-driving system.

“Our government can neither manufacture nor import new vehicles. Our citizens are risking their lives using old cars, and taxis and bus lines are losing profits,” he said, calling for a policy that would put new, inexpensive, left-hand drive cars on the road.

“If demand is high, prices will fall,” he said. “We need the government to approve a standardised vehicle that will be easy to buy and repair with easily available parts. The Ministry of Industry should take the lead in developing a domestic car industry.”

Yangon Region Transport Authority Group secretary U Maung Aung said the government would consider the question of personal car imports after upgrading public transport.

U Myint Cho, spokesperson of the Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles Importing at the commerce ministry, said there was an inter-ministerial meeting scheduled for November 4 to consider policy options for the industry.

“We’re aware that showroom owners are inconvenienced because of government measures,” he said.


Source: The Myanmar Times



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