The government is not doing enough to provide car parking, even as it demands proof of a parking spot for each new vehicle import, according to car importers.
In a bid to cut down on overcrowded streets, Yangon Region has required that importers have written proof of a parking spot from their local township administration office since the beginning of the year.
Importers have been vocal in their opposition to the policy, saying it severely affects their business.
Some say importers must wait from two weeks to a month to receive the recommendation letter for the township office. When the policy was initially put in place, some townships were slow to set up systems to process the requests, but now brokers say some townships require payments to receive the recommendation letters.
“We now need to pay between K700,000 and K800,000 for a recommendation letter – but if importers have bought the letters, they can’t use their name for imports,” saod Ko Min Min Maung, managing director of Wun Yan Kha car sales centre.
“We have heard that there is injustice in the township administrative offices and corruption is growing,” he said. “The policy is a little deviated. I don’t think it’s the best way to reduce traffic jams.”
Importers say one of the biggest frustrations is that these payments are kept by the local officials and brokers, and do not reach government coffers.
Distinct Trading managing director Ko Htut Hthaik said it is difficult to make deals when importers are not sure when their letters will be approved.
“Even when we buy the letter, it is not convenient because we don’t know when we will receive it,” he said. “The letters are getting expensive, but the government does not receive the money.”
Ko Htut Hthaik said he would prefer to see a standard fee of K1 million or so on imported vehicles, with the funds specifically earmarked to build car parking spaces, rather than the current system.
U Aye Tun, a senior member of the new car distribution association, said the policy has not been effective for everybody.
“Instead of reducing traffic jams, other corruption will develop,” he said. “To build parking is the government’s task, and they should use their budget to do this. It is not the concern of importers.”
U Aye Tun said a better method of solving parking problems would be to build multi-storey car parking buildings through taxes collected on cars that are applying for Yangon licence plates.
Car importers say so far the government has said it intends to continue with the policy for the long-term.
Ministry of Commerce and township administration officials did not return request for comment yesterday.
Source: Myanmar Times