Parliament endorses ban on importation of old cars
Cars older than fifteen years from September 2018 will no longer be allowed into the country following the enactment of the Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Act 2018.
The initial government proposal to effect the ban on eight year old vehicles elicited bipartisan, passionate opposition.
The Act extended the age of cars exempted from environmental levy to eight years from the original five years.
The environmental levy tax burden now shifts to older cars. From five to 15 years, the levy now becomes 50 per cent of the value of the vehicle.
Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi, who is also the Chairperson of the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development, supported the move, but cautioned Parliament against depriving hundreds of employment.
“The used motor vehicles industry comprises of car importers, forwarders totaling to 11,139 people. The ban on the importation of old vehicles will render 11,000 direct beneficiaries of this unemployed,” said Musasizi.
He called for the reduction of taxes on new cars as an incentive to discourage purchase of older ones.
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Winfred Kiiza opposed the move saying it will disadvantage poor Ugandans and drive many out of business.
“Let’s not be blinded, let’s not close our eyes and minds to the reality of our lives. Our population cannot afford the first hand vehicles,” said Kiiza.
The Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister, Vincent Ssempijja differed with Kiiza, and proposed a complete ban on old vehicles, which he linked to rampant road accidents.
“First of all, this is an old amendment and in view of the ongoing accidents, let’s really handle this once and for all,” said Ssempijja.
Aruu County MP Odonga Otto warned Finance State Minister David Bahati against government’s hardline stance, saying he will need to revise MPs’ car facilitation upwards.
The enactment of the Act concludes passing of tax Bills, a precursor to the consideration of the Appropriation Bill 2018, which effects the National Budget.