There is good news for motorbike lovers!
The government has decided to cut the motorcycle registration fee to almost half as the future registration cost will be Tk2,000 for bikes of 100 Cubic Capacity (CC) or lower and Tk3,000 for those over 100CC.
As a result, users will have to pay Tk8,579 for bikes up to 100CC and Tk11,590 for those over 100CC. This cost includes the inspection charge, road tax and retroreflective number plate charge. These charges remain unchanged.
Industry insiders welcomed the government's decision but, simultaneously, said the other fees should be minimised too, to bring down the overall cost to around Tk10,000 in order to help accelerate the sector's growth.
To implement the government's new decision, the road transport and highways division has sought the finance ministry's approval. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will issue a notification on the reduced registration cost after obtaining the consent.
In August, a meeting between Ahmed Kaikaus, principal secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, and Japanese investors in Bangladesh resulted in a decision that registration fees be reduced to 10% of a motorcycles' market price.
The Prime Minister's Office assigned the finance ministry and the road transport and bridges ministry to implement the decision.
Business insiders said, currently, the market has little demand for 100CC or less engine capacity motorcycles. But the production and import of 110CC ones is growing. Therefore, the CC limit to set the minimum registration fee at Tk2,000 should have been lifted to 110CC.
The Bangladesh Motorcycle Assemblers and Manufacturers Association (BMAMA) had proposed, before the current fiscal year's budget, to reduce the motorcycle registration fee by 81% to Tk4,000.
BMAMA President Matiur Rahman, chairman of Uttara Motors – the sole distributor of India's Bajaj brand motorcycles in Bangladesh – declined to comment immediately on the government's latest decision.
Ashequr Rahman, general manager of Bangladesh Honda Private Limited, said the government's decision is commendable. However, considering that the amount of CC of motorcycles has increased now, it would be better to set the CC limit to 110 or fix a uniform fee for all types of motorbikes.
He also said BRTA collects road tax at the time of motorcycle registration. The total cost at that time, including road tax, is Tk22,747. So, cutting Tk2,000-2,500 will not have much of a positive effect on the sector.
If the total cost of registration, including road tax, can be brought down to around Tk10,000, it will play a big role in the development of the industry, the top official of Bangladesh Honda added.
After the Japanese company, Honda, invested in Bangladesh, Japanese Ambassador to Dhaka Naoki Ito repeatedly proposed the government reduce the registration fee for motorcycles.
According to Japanese investors, the motorcycle sector in Bangladesh is still growing amid various hindrances, including traffic jams and the risk of road accidents. Registration fees will have to be reduced to sustain this growth.
At present, some 10 brands of motorcycles are manufactured or assembled in Bangladesh, namely: Runner, Hero, Bajaj, Honda, TVS, Yamaha, Suzuki, Benelli, Zongshen, and Lifan.
The Honda Motor Company Ltd is jointly manufacturing motorcycles with the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation in the Abdul Monem Economic Zone.
About Tk8,000 crore has so far been invested in the sector, which provides direct or indirect jobs to about two lakh people, according to the BMAMA.
The motorcycle industry contributes around Tk2,000 crore in duty, tax, and VAT directly every year. Additionally, there is an opportunity to earn revenue of around Tk1,000 crore from registration fees.
Motorcycle sales leapt to about five lakh units in 2019 from 1.5 lakh in 2017 because of a cut in import duties and their use for ride-sharing services.