Former president of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicle Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida) Md Habib Ullah Dawn has thanked the government for reducing duties on microbuses having seven to nine seats and 2001-2500cc hybrid cars.
But since the proposed duty reduction is leaving the mass market segments untouched, he called for including those in the list of four wheelers so that they can enjoy less duty.
The proposed duty reduction, up to a moderate extent, will help people afford eco-friendly cars as the government has proposed reducing supplementary duty on hybrid cars, including sedans, crossovers, and sports utility vehicles having 2001-2500cc engines.
But as around 70% of the hybrid cars sold in Bangladesh are sub-2000cc units, the duty benefit will remain beyond the reach of average-income families.
Dawn, now a vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, has long been advocating the facilitation of the use of hybrid cars in Bangladesh through ensuring affordability.
During his presidency at Barvida in 2017, the government allowed the imports of Japanese reconditioned hybrid cars for the first time, which helped increase the market share of hybrid cars in Bangladesh to over one-third in recent years.
Considering the eco-friendly character of hybrid cars that use both gasoline and storage battery power, simultaneously or separately, to run, many countries waived duties on those.
"We need to make hybrid cars more affordable," Dawn told The Business Standard.
The proposed benefit would help reduce the unit price of 2001-2500cc hybrid cars by Tk4-7 lakh or up to 10%, he said.
"I would request the government to reduce the duty for all sub-2000cc hybrid cars," he said, adding that it could reduce the unit price by several lakh taka.
Like all other car dealers, Dawn too appreciates the duty reduction for gasoline microbuses having seven to nine seats and all hybrid microbuses as it will help reduce the unit price by 12-18%.
But he expects that the government would also consider reducing duties on gasoline-run microbuses having 12-15 seats as these are mainly used for transporting staff of different organisations and can be a great alternative to unsafe traditional local vehicles, popularly called nasiman, kariman and bhatbhati, in rural areas.
"We are surprised that there was no initiative to make large microbuses affordable," Dawn said.
The Made in Bangladesh plan for the automobile industry is realistic, he said.
He also hailed the government's vision for the next-level industrialisation.