‘The industry has suffered a monthly sales loss of at least Tk20,000 crore and an operating loss of Tk2,000 crore due to the outbreak,’ former BAAMA president says
To support hard-hit vehicle owners, automobile industry stakeholders have requested the government waive all duties and taxes on importing spare parts in the upcoming fiscal year.
If the government responds to the call, it will help vehicle owners operate at a reduced cost.
"It will be a relief for them," said the Bangladesh Automobiles Assemblers and Manufacturers Association (BAAMA) at an online press conference on Tuesday.
Though the use of cheaper spare parts might lead to a drop in new vehicle sales, "We still want it for the sake of people amid these tough times," said the BAAMA President and also Nitol-Niloy Group Chairman Abdul Matlub Ahmed.
The association called for disciplining vehicle fitness tests and also expressed its readiness to support the government at the discussion "The Role of the Automobile Sector in Bangladesh."
"We can open a dozen vehicle fitness testing facilities – like a compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder testing facility – across the country and contribute from the private sector," said Matlub.
"The government, alone, cannot do the job with its limited resources."
The BAAMA also called for revisiting the government policy of registering light trucks as comparatively smaller pickup vans.
At the press conference, Hafizur Rahman Khan, immediate past BAAMA president and also Runner Group Chairman, said, "The country's automobile industry has suffered a monthly sales loss of at least Tk20,000 crore and an operating loss of Tk2,000 crore due to the outbreak and 66 days of shutdown."
The association's Vice President and also Ifad Autos Managing Director Taskeen Ahmed said the industry would recover from the ongoing slowdown by the second half of 2021.
Rangs Group Managing Director and the BAAMA Joint Secretary Sohana Rouf Chowdhury focused on modern bodybuilding for more value added to the bus sector.
Sohana also said that all the educational institutes including schools should have student buses for a disciplined and safe road.
The association – consisting of the major three-wheeler and four-wheeler assemblers plus some two-wheeler manufacturers of the country – said the country needs a supportive policy for three-wheelers and four-wheelers like the one framed for two-wheelers.
This is required to facilitate and inspire progressive manufacturing by brands and the development of the local components industry.
The BAAMA president thanked the government for starting the registration of electric cars and suggested state support for it so that the popularity of green vehicles gains momentum here and inspires local manufacturing.
"It will be tough for us to compete with the decades-old fuel run car industries across the world. However, we have a bigger chance to adopt new technologies for manufacturing electric vehicles."
Hafizur Rahman emphasised mandatory registration of battery-run three-wheelers. "The 10 lakh plus imported battery-run three-wheelers are depriving the government of huge amounts of revenue each year."