Trinidad and Tobago Used Car Dealers’ Association (TTADA) president Visham Babwah is calling on Trade Minister Vasant Bharath to rescue the foreign used car industry.
Babwah said used car dealers have not yet received letters from the ministry, allowing them to apply for licences to import vehicles.
He said the letters were usually issued in December.
“For 2014 we have not received our letters to collect our licences. This is the letter we usually get in December to indicate to us the amount of cars we are getting the next year and also how we can utilise the licence and draw down on that amount. This year we have not received the letters and we are not getting any definite answers from the ministry,” Babwah said in a telephone interview.
Babwah said used car dealers were also concerned about the expiration of the policy protecting the industry.
“We have a policy to regulate the foreign used car industry which expired last year. It has been reviewed and we were not too comfortable and wanted some changes in the policy. The minister and his team wanted different things in the policy,” he said.
Babwah said he was disappointed that the policy had not yet been renewed.
He said local dealers were against a decision by the ministry to bring in new dealers into the industry. “I think they should see about the existing dealers before bringing in new ones. We have a lot of problems which they need to deal with too. They can’t just bring in new people and give them the protection that we have been asking for. We have to consider many things, for example traffic on the roads,” he said.
Babwah said the association was seeking a meeting with the minister to discuss outstanding matters.
“We keep calling the ministry and they telling us they will get back to us, I don’t know when that would be. But we want the minister to address the problems of the existing dealers. I have been protecting this industry and advocating for change and you cannot just bring in people,” he said.
Babwah said the association’s last meeting with the ministry was held in September.