Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida) is earnestly seeking for a one-year halt to the auction of imported cars stuck in seaports.
At a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday, the association leaders said the sector is through a rough patch due to drop in sales as a large number of importers are unable to get their cars released from Chattogram and Mongla seaports.
Barvida president Abdul Haque told The Business Standard, "Due to having their sales nearly come down to a half amid the pandemic, more than 2,500 cars still remain unsold in 400 dealerships across the country."
During the nationwide shutdown, the stockpile in dealerships mounted to over 6,000 units and the congestion of imported cars created a backlog at the ports.
However, currently there are more than 4,000 cars stuck at the ports as Barvida pleas for concessions in cumulative port fees and granting stimulus loans are barely heard by the authorities concerned.
During the shutdown, the sector absorbed around a loss of Tk1,000 crore, according to Barvida estimate.
Mongla Customs has recently begun selling off the cars stuck in port yards in auction and 86 have already been auctioned to participants at a cheaper price.
Barvida Secretary General Shahidul Islam said through the auction, bidders are getting favour as they are buying cars at around 60% of their total value.
According to the association leaders, if the authorities stop auction process, importers will have some time to release their cars from ports, and it will help their business get back on its feet.
"Despite being one of the highest tax-paying sectors, we received no government support in the ongoing difficult time. So, we request at least Tk1,000 crore in loans from the stimulus packages announced by the premier," said the association leaders.
Barvida – a 900-member association – asked for an immediate inter-ministry meeting to decide on a halt to the car auction for one year.
They also requested the National Board of Revenue to rationalise the duty structure in car imports which is gradually going against reconditioned cars, despite the fact that the importers are bringing the best quality cars from Japan where no car is running without complying with Euro-5 emission standard.
Meanwhile, some new car importers are bringing less environmentally friendly cars from regional plants, claimed the association leaders.
Barvida also demanded a ban on the import of cars that does not comply with Euro-5 emission norms.
Bangladesh car market has been sliding since 2017. Its total annual sale has already nearly come down to a half from over 30,000 units three years ago.