meet with Bharath
Concern over new licences
Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Vasant Bharath has met with Trinidad and Tobago Automotive Dealers Association (TTDA) president Visham Babwah to discuss concerns over licences granted to new foreign-used car dealers.
Babwah wanted clarification on the issue, to which Bharath admitted the Ministry did issue registration certificates to two new dealers with a collective annual allocation of 55 cars only (imported), but this had been an order that predated his tenure as Minister.
Bharath only assumed this portfolio in May after the Prime Minister's Cabinet reshuffle. Stephen Cadiz was his predecessor.
Bharath said, however, that these new dealers had met all the criteria to be allowed the issuance of certificates. He also said this allowance would in no way affect the existing quota of 13,500 cars per annum as approved by Cabinet.
Prior to this meeting, Babwah had been very vocal in calling for transparency and accountability in the way new foreign-used car dealers are registered, as well as the quota of vehicles that could be imported.
Babwah had said the association was lobbying to have an increased quota for smaller dealers to better sustain their business. The current allocation is between ten and 30 vehicles a year.
In light of the TTDA's concern's Bharath said no further new licences would be granted until the current audit of existing licensed foreign-used dealers is complete. This is expected by December.
A further commitment was given to maintain the six-year cap on the age of imported used vehicles.
Both parties agreed to establish a committee for further legitimising the foreign-used car industry. The TTDA gave its assurance it will support the Ministry in ensuring the public deals with reputable dealers within the industry.