I recently read the online Demerara News story headed ‘Minister dumps used tyres call’.
Now while I am in favour of new tryes and would feel a lot safer using them, I am quite aware that the cost of these tyres would be prohibitive and a further burden to many given the high cost of living in Guyana today.
The Finance Minister puts the unofficial annual estimate of imported used tyres according to the report at 20,000, which appears extremely low given the number of vehicles currently on our roads. That figure, obviously cannot be correct and has to be a lot higher. Simple maths would reveal that if only one tyre change per vehicle were made annually, that figure would represent only 20,000 vehicles. This makes me wonder if our Finance Minister and others really do their homework when making these public statements.
Used tyre sales in Guyana are extremely high, and represent a major portion of the tyre trade, clearly suggesting that the rationale for buying used tyres is affordability.
However, getting back to the real issue, I doubt that there are any statistics to suggest that tyre failure is a major cause of road accidents, especially given the extent of used tyre usage. In fact, I would think speeding, DUI, reckless road usage, inadequate road and traffic safety precautions and regulations are among the chief causes of accidents and fatalities on our roads.
In a country now feeling the effects of a rapidly declining dollar exchange rate, one would think that we would be more prudent in addressing and regulating our imports to get a better bang for our buck. I feel it would make better sense to regulate the importation of certified used tyres and reduce the importing of new ones by using an average based on what is currently imported and used in both categories.
Further, if government is truly concerned about the safety of its citizens, then it should reduce the duties or remove them altogether on the new tyres to encourage usage. I also feel that commercial vehicles should be made to use new tyres and those at least should be duty free to these users. The problem with all this is that we are at sea with regard to corruption and would find regulation of such obvious moves too difficult to control, hence the easy but costlier way out.
Our government must employ more creative ways to run things and bring an end to the temptation of the wholesale taxation method of raising revenue which in turn demoralizes citizens, killing their enthusiasm and spirit of entrepreneurship.