Bus com­pound en­try fee hurt­ing me­chan­ics

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

ME­CHAN­ICS at Nay Pyi Taw’s Bawga Thiri High­way Bus Com­pound say re­cently im­posed ve­hi­cle en­trance fees are cost­ing them busi­ness and are call­ing for an ex­emp­tion.

The new fees have sent some reg­u­lar cus­tomers else­where and now busi­ness is slow, said U Nyi Nyi Swe, owner of the Thein Htoo San auto parts store.

“If a reg­u­lar cus­tomer comes to the bus com­pound to in­flate their tyres, it costs them K200 for the in­fla­tion but K300 for the en­trance fee … so they go to other shops where they do not have to pay that ex­tra cost,” he said. “One cus­tomer wanted us to check their car en­gine but they got im­pa­tient wait­ing in the queue to pay the en­trance fee and went to an­other work­shop. At the mo­ment, our busi­ness is down 50 per­cent.”

In 2007, fees were rolled out for a month and then abol­ished af­ter pub­lic out­cry.

The gov­ern­ment re­in­stated the fees on July 1.

While busi­ness suf­fers, own­ers still have to pay a monthly shop rental fee, an an­nual busi­ness li­cence fee, labour costs, taxes and elec­tric­ity bills, he said.

He claims that the gov­ern­ment im­posed the fees in a non-trans­par­ent way, with­out in­form­ing the busi­ness own­ers.

The auto me­chan­ics are call­ing for an ex­emp­tion from the fees charged to all ve­hi­cles that en­ter the com­pound.

“We were told to seek per­mis­sion from the re­spec­tive au­thor­i­ties in or­der to gain free en­try. But we do not want to do that be­cause staff re­spon­si­ble for grant­ing per­mis­sion were un­friendly to us,” said U Nyi Nyi Swe.

Of the roughly 80 shops in the high­way com­pound, 59 are auto me­chan­ics and each shop has at least one pri­vate car.

Four times, the shop own­ers have sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­tion, re­quest­ing the re­moval of an en­trance fee for pri­vate cars and reg­u­lar cus­tomers, to Nay Pyi Taw Mayor Myo Aung, Nay Pyi Taw City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee, Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Than Soe Aung (NLD; Py­in­mana), the Cus­tom Depart­ment di­rec­tor, the bus com­pound di­rec­tor and Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw.

“They con­tacted me first,” U Than Soe Aung told The Myan­mar Times. “I sug­gested that they not stage a protest but sub­mit a let­ter to Nay Pyi Taw Coun­cil. I of­ten con­tact Nay Pyi Taw City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee to en­quire about this. I was told pri­vate cars owned by shop own­ers will be ex­empt from pay­ing the en­trance fee. And some cars are al­ready ex­empt.”

But the lo­cal MP has yet to meet with the shop own­ers.

“I am help­ing them even though I have not met with them,” he said. “But I am not the one who is sup­posed to make the de­ci­sion. It only con­cerns the au­thor­i­ties.”

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

A ve­hi­cle pays an en­trance fee at the Bawga Thiri Bus Com­pound.

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