Car dealers have said majority of Ugandans, including high profile politicians such as MPs and business people cannot afford to buy new cars.
“Very few people in this country can afford to buy a vehicle of 2011 model (eight years old). Even MPs and ministers who want the Bill cannot buy them. They depend on tax payers’ money who they now want to squeeze out of their businesses,” Mr Sam Magulu, a car dealer, said.
Mr Sam Magulu was speaking in response to Bill now before Parliament, through which government is proposing to ban importation of cars that are older than eight.
The ban, if implemented, according to dealers shall substantially affect the car market in Uganda, which on average imports about 4,000 cars per month, majority of which are older than eight years.
In a heated meeting held in Kampala at the weekend, car dealers said the proposed Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill, 2018, must be reviewed to eliminate all unfair clauses.
Mr Patrick Opio, another car dealer, said it was absurd for government officials, who largely depend on tax payers money, to start pushing through laws that squeeze the poor.
“They [government] get taxes from us to sustain their extravagant lifestyles but they are the same people who want to kill our businesses because they can’t think through the laws they are making,” he said.
The ban, some analysts have said, seek to protect Ugandans against pollution as well as boosting local capacity to manufacture cars.
However, others argue that boosting local capacity cannot be used as an excuse to kill other businesses. Some have suggested that include all stakeholders while drawing up such policies.
Government, has through the Kiira Motors Corporation project embarked on a long term plan for Uganda to manufacture its own cars.
Already efforts have been made to develop technology to produce solar cars on a large scale. However, car importers argue that the changes in the automobile industry should not be sudden as they currently seem to be.
“We pay taxes and provide employment to Ugandan. Drastic policies will have far reaching implications. Government should include us in their long-term plans so that we move together without creating unnecessary losses,” said Mr Waqas A. Pasha, the director of Tadashii Trading Company.