Working class Guyanese relegated to drive old vehicles

Dear Editor,

The foreign concession class, senior government officials, re-migrants, the ultra-rich and the mafia class in Guyana, are the most likely residents to be driving new economy class vehicles that cost US$25,000 – 30,000/GY$6,000,000; or drive Corvettes, Range Rovers, Rolls-Royces or Porsches, based on the concessions and financing available to this group.

We have relegated working class Guyanese from accessing new vehicles with the latest technology. The Guyana vehicle tariff regime is antiquated, archaic and visionless which has resulted in restrictive, oppressive and irrational vehicle import tax rates.  There are many mid-level sedans and non-premium category cars that have over 1999 Cylinder Capacity (CC); vehicles in this category, such as the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, will be taxed at Guyana’s world beating vehicle tariff/tax rate of 247% to 297%.

The vehicle buyer importing a 3,000 CC economy-class vehicle is asked to pay the same exorbitant tariff as the buyer importing a 6000 CC Bentley Continental. It’s only one component of the many malfunctioning cognitive junctions that permeate our vehicle tariff structure. Is it government’s policy to reduce fuel consumption and have Guyanese drive low CC vehicles? The vehicles used by our Ministers certainly do not suggest any government policy to reduce fuel consumption, which is quite acceptable; however what is unacceptable is the stupendous tariff rates imposed on Guyanese not eligible for duty-free concessions. It is not as if we are protecting Guyana’s vehicle manufacturing industry!

The members of the Guyanese middle-class have to consider themselves fortunate if they are able to acquire a vehicle six to eight years old with 2000 CC or over. We need to change the current vehicle import tariff structure forthwith. No wonder we have so many illegal schemes to avoid the vehicle tariff, resulting in resources wasted to manage and implement an outdated and illogical vehicle tariff structure.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds

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