Car deal­ers seek­ing ur­gent an­swers on pol­icy from com­merce min­istry

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

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 right­driv­ing 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

‘Our cit­i­zens are risk­ing their lives us­ing old cars, and taxis and bus lines are los­ing prof­its.’ U Aung Win AADA

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.

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