The proposed "Automobile Industry Development Policy 2020" will help the establishment of merely a car assembling industry in Bangladesh in the name of producing homemade cars, opined Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida).
In reality, the policy is likely to attract some low quality vehicle makers to enjoy the offered tax benefits and a monopoly in Bangladeshi market, believes the association.
The proposed policy, apparently aiming at having a local car industry instead of the existing import dependency, has outlined a way to phase out the imports of used cars in five years.
If implemented as it is, the policy would deprive Bangladeshi customers from their right to buy better Japanese cars at an affordable price, Barvida said in a press conference in the capital on Saturday.
To argue against the plan to ban reconditioned cars, Barvida said around 170 countries rely on Japanese reconditioned cars.
Some industrialised and developed countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates allow import of Japanese reconditioned cars because those meet at least Euro 5 emission standard.
On the other hand, some developing countries in this region still have options to produce cars that follow inferior – only Euro 2 or 3 – emission control standards and keep polluting the environment more than the used Japanese cars.
Bangladesh still does not require cars any better than those follow the Euro 3 emission standard.
Welcoming the government plan for the development of local car industry, the reconditioned car importers said they are for a "realistic, forward looking and implementable" automobile policy, which needs analysis of other countries' experiences.
For example, annual demand for 1 lakh units would create the rationale for having companies investing for local plants, said the proposed policy, while the Bangladesh market is currently selling 20,000 cars a year on an average.
No global brand considers the market size large enough for investing here and Bangladesh needs a roadmap like that adopted in Thailand which exports 12 lakh cars out of 19 lakh units they manufacture annually.
Along with stressing the importance of export for sustainable investments, Barvida also requested the government to make at least 30% local value addition mandatory before offering "too much" tax incentives to the incumbent car industry players.
Barvida President Abdul Haque made a power point presentation at the program. Secretary General of the association Mohammed Shahidul Islam, its former presidents Md Habib Ullah Dawn, Md Abdul Hamid Sharif, Vice President Saiful Islam Samrat and Executive Members Abu Hossain Bhuiya and Md Yunus Ali also spoke at the programme.
Abdul Haque said the proposed automobile industry development policy has not been made following the existing industrial policy of the country. It is rather contradictory.
His association prefers not to call "screw driving" an industry.
Pragati Industry's 54 years of operation, its capacity and role to create backward linkage, supply chain and export market demand a review for second thought, said Abdul Haque.