Government could soon lift the lid on the importation of used cars older than five years following the completion of a final draft on the feasibility of the move by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, The Villager can confirm.
However, the cars to be allowed inside the country will not be more than 10-years-old.
The draft, which was done after widespread consultations with different stake-holders, will soon be tabled in Cabinet for a final decision, although authorities from the Ministry of Trade cannot give a definite date as to when the ministerial decision-making board will dwell on the issue.
Both the deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Tjekero Tweya and his permanent secretary, Malan Lindeque confirmed that the initial and final drafts have been completed and will be debated upon in Cabinet for approval soon.
Although Tweya could not give more details on the resolution reached or time-frame of when the country’s poor will have the privilege of owning a car at an affordable price, he revealed that, “We have completed the final draft and it has passed through my office.
I also understand that the initial draft has been completed although it has not reached my office. We will, however, be going back to Cabinet that gave the directive for us to have a study of the practicality of Namibians importing used cars.”
Tweya who has also been agitating for the breaking of monopoly by car dealerships that sell new vehicles at inflated prices, admitted that the consultations had been completed in favour of the ordinary man, striking a delicate balance on contribution to the country’s economy.
Should the Cabinet make its verdict in favour of lifting the restrictions of importing vehicles above five years but not older than 10 years, Namibia would have joined other countries in the region including South Africa and Botswana whose citizens access Japanese and UK car imports.
Tweya added that the draft is subject to Cabinet approval before Namibians can have it easy registering second-hand cars that meet the ‘age’ requirement.
The approval of the final consultation draft by Cabinet could spell a boom for medium to relatively high earning Namibians as they will be able to access used cars from the region.
Namibia is already experiencing a growing number of second-hand cars proliferating into the country from Botswana, Durban and the United Kingdom.
The country initially had an embargo on the importation of vehicles older than five years because of the detriment they have on the environment; and to promote local automobile sales too.
According to Lindeque, the contents of the final draft are not ready for public consumption but he added that, “The importation of old vehicles has been work-in-progress and as soon as we have the final responses from the Ministry of Works and Transport and NaTIS, we will reveal our findings and way forward.
Lindeque added that the consultations with both NATIS and the MWT have reached an advanced stage to create a working formula and deal with the bottlenecks that are faced by locals when registering their second-hand cars.
Although Government is still pending on the final decision, the central bank officials have revealed that the number of Namibians looking beyond borders for second-hand vehicles has been on the increase courtesy of money availability on the market.
Meanwhile, CEO of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) that has many members dealing in brand new car sales, Tarah Shaanika said that if Government decided to give a nod to the importation of second-hand cars, the move could also help to uplift the lives of the poor and low income earning groups.
“I doubt importation of second-hand car vehicles will dent band new car dealers.
The fact that there is a market for such cars in the country means there is a need to allow the importation.
“However, Government should just guard against the detrimental effects of being a dumping ground for other countries and keep the environment safe,” he said.
He added that the decision, if taken, could also translate into car ownership being a necessity than a dream for the poor.