Tax hike on auto imports ‘not right solution’: merchants

Japanese used cars being imported across the Thaungyin River.

Myanmar merchants on the Myawady border with Thailand complain that a pending increase in tax on imported vehicles is negatively impacting ordinary people.

The border point has seen a rise in vehicle imports this month after the government declared it would increase vehicle import taxes from 3 to 10 per cent starting on October 1.

“A ban on vehicle imports, increased tax rates and other such policy changes are not the right solution to the ‘traffic jam’ problem,” Zaw Maw Tun, the secretary of Myawady Border Vehicles and Machinery Entrepreneurs, said. “It may become a burden to the grass-roots.”

Vehicle imports via the road border have declined since the government began its policy of importing left-hand-drive cars only. The price of the average car has also increased by Ks2 million, after auto companies were restricted to importing only one vehicle a month.

“The government needs to lay down policies that will be beneficial to the people. It is ordinary people who will be hit by the higher taxes,” Zaw Maw Tun added.

Importing vehicles over land is cheaper and quicker than importing over water. As of October 1, the cost of a vehicle imported via a jetty will increase by at least Ks1.5 million.

Source: Eleven