GOVERNMENT intends to ban used tyres and reduce the taxes on new ones in order to make them more attractive for use, but many taxi drivers and dealers in the trade are asking “how much reduction in taxes on new tyres will suit the small man, whose pocket can’t even afford to buy used ones at present?”This was the sentiment of a driver attached to a taxi service in the city. Not willing to give his name but eager to comment, he said, “I know the Government has our best interest at heart, but that tax on new tyres really has to be nominal altogether if we want to promote quality and safety; if that’s the reason for the ban.”
A driver of a private car was much more optimistic, saying that the phasing out of the importation of used vehicle tyres should be seen as part of a wider effort to enhance road safety and gradually reduce the environmental hazards associated with the disposal of tyres.
“Guyana should not be a dumping zone for old and used stuff,” he said.
Meanwhile, Forbes Garraway of Forbes Vulcanising said the ban will affect the business overall, as the used tyre trade is a US$30M business in Guyana. He recommended that “Government should drop the duty on the new tyres and eventually the used ones will be phased out naturally. You won’t find car dealers bringing 170 Toyota Carina anymore, because no one wants it. The same way they (Government) can do with the used tyre business. If you really drop the taxes on new tyres, people will buy that instead; but now you’re forcing people to go deeper into their pockets,” he contended.
Mr Garraway further explained that it’s not used tyres that cause accidents, but “drunkenness, wildness and speeding, which are the major causes of accidents; while many people who can afford new tyres have issues with the roadway and the debris that are puncturing and cutting their tyres.
“If you want to ban used tyres, then you must have a sweeper to sweep the road of all the objects that will damage new tyres…. If they drop the duty on tyres, they have to drop the (duty on) spare parts also,” he contended.
In general, many of the tyre dealers interviewed are of the opinion that the used tyre business should be phased out naturally, dropping the taxes on the new tyres to make them more attractive and affordable for drivers.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) is finding it hard to monitor used tyres, which are a major concern to many consumers. Persons have been complaining about the poor quality of some used tyres, and have indicated their concern to the agency.
When a shipment of used tyres arrives in the country, GNBS inspectors physically check each tyre for certain specifications, and those which are found to be defective are destroyed.
Surveillance exercises are carried out at storage facilities to ascertain the quality of used tyres being sold.
Guyana reportedly imports more than 40,000 new tyres and 139,083 used tyres annually, while the disposal of used tyres reportedly costs the city council millions annually.
By Rabindra Rooplall