Show­room own­ers call for clear au­to­mo­bile import pol­icy

The Myanmar Times - - Business - Ayenyein­win@mm­times.com AYE NYEIN WIN

CON­FU­SION over car import pol­icy could put off for­eign in­vestors, show­room own­ers are warn­ing. They say in­vestors who want to in­tro­duce new ve­hi­cles are un­able to do so be­cause of fre­quent changes in the rules.

Partly as a means of re­duc­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion in Yan­gon, the last gov­ern­ment re­quired im­porters to prove they had enough space to park the cars they wanted to bring into the coun­try.

The cur­rent gov­ern­ment sus­pended that reg­u­la­tion in April, but im­porters say the sta­tus of cur­rent reg­u­la­tions is un­clear.

U Soe Htun, pres­i­dent of the Myan­mar Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ and Dis­trib­u­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (MAMDA), said, “Com­pa­nies do not dare to in­vest in Myan­mar. To open a car show­room in Yan­gon, you need to spend about K50 mil­lion for a good site.

“If it takes four or five months be­fore you can start to op­er­ate, you stand to lose about K200 mil­lion, not count­ing staff and in­vest­ment costs. If the gov­ern­ment sud­denly changes the rules, in­vestors can lose their money and don’t want to in­vest again. The gov­ern­ment should an­nounce a clear pol­icy.”

U Myo Myint Thein, of Toy­ota Mo­tor Aye and Son, said that un­sta­ble import poli­cies are in­con­ve­nienc­ing for­eign com­pa­nies wish­ing to bring in ve­hi­cles and hurt­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, well be­yond the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try.

“For­eign com­pa­nies based in Yan­gon can­not buy cars. Rent­ing ve­hi­cles is only a tem­po­rary op­tion. They need cars for their staff and to ex­pand their busi­ness,” he said.

Nor have the mea­sures taken so far no­tice­ably re­duced con­ges­tion.

“In June, some cus­tomers brought in to cars into Yan­gon that were reg­is­tered in other states and re­gions. And May was our best-sell­ing month,” said U Soe Htun.

But us­ing a car in Yan­gon that is reg­is­tered in Bago, Man­dalay or Nay Pyi Taw could give rise to le­gal prob­lems in the event of an ac­ci­dent, he added. “Those cus­tomers can’t get a log book for the ve­hi­cle in their own name. No­body knows when the gov­ern­ment will amend the park­ingspace pro­vi­sion,” he said.

U Myo Myint Thein of Toy­ota said cus­tomers have been very pa­tient, but some can’t wait any longer.

“They’ve al­ready paid their de­posit, but we have about 100 cars that we can’t hand over to cus­tomers yet. We’ve asked the re­gional gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion on this as a mat­ter of ur­gency.”

MAMDA and the Min­istry of Com­merce have rec­om­mended three mea­sures to re­duce con­ges­tion in Yan­gon, said U Soe Htun.

“The first is to in­crease car park­ing. The sec­ond is to limit the num­bers of cars im­ported and the third is to get peo­ple to re­place cars that are 15 or 20 years old with a new one,” he said.

Trans­porta­tion pol­icy is han­dled by the Road Trans­port Ad­min­is­tra­tion Depart­ment, the Min­istry of In­dus­try and the Su­per­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles.

“I wish these three groups would co­or­di­nate more closely to­gether so that im­porters bring in ve­hi­cles on the ba­sis of clear pro­ce­dures,” said U Soe Htun.

Photo: Staff

Cars for sale at a show­room in Yan­gon.

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