of the Pre-Owned Automotive Dealers Association Inshan Ishmael
walks past a fleet of used-cars at his Bamboo Settlement No 1 business
on Tuesday. Photos: JENNIFER WATSON
for more thieves and fraudsters, with the increase in motor vehicle
tax that was announced by Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira
during last Mondays budget presentation.
is what Inshan Ishmael, president of the Pre-Owned Automotive Dealers
Association, predicts. He also said the new tax, which would mostly
affect low and middle-income earners, could lead to inflation jumping
from 12 to 19 per cent by years end.
to the Sunday Guardian on Tuesday, hours after the new tax on private
vehicles was imposed, Ishmael, who manages a roll-on roll-off business
named ROC at Bamboo Settlement, said with the tax increase, knocked
down cars would be a highly sought-after commodity, which would
fuel the resurgence of fraudulent activities in the used-car industry.
only that... it can cause an industry that is ripe with theft and
fraud to worsen.
said for the past seven years he had been trying to bring an end
to knocked-down cars entering the country, which he said was illegal.
cars, most of which are Nissan B13 and B14, come dismantled in containers
cars are then assembled, complete with engines, and are sold for
approximately $12,000. A false number plate is attached and the
vehicle is put on the roads, he explained.
noted that most times these cars were used to commit robberies and
year, Ishmael said, between 2,500 and 3,000 illegal cars flood the
nations roads, because there were too many loopholes in the
said there was nothing being done to track cars with illegal number
also said SUVs would attract thieves mainly for original parts,
which would increase in value because of the new tax.
claimed that 90 per cent of cars recovered by the police after a
crime spree were found to have illegal licence plates, which can
be purchased any and every-where.
going to reach an alarming proportion now, so if you think fraud
is prevalent wait until the end of the year, he added.
said a used-car, which was now going at $60,000, would cost between
$67,000 and $68,000 when tax was added.
would obviously buy the knocked-down car, which would be far cheaper,
said a few days ago the police pulled over a man driving a knocked-down
car with the same number plate of a North-West Regional Health Authority
Tuesday, Ishmael had a meeting with acting Commissioner of Police
James Philbert during which he said he divulged certain information
on the illegal activities in the car industry.
fact, Mr Philbert immediately called in the Stolen Vehicles Squad
to get cracking on this. An investigation has now started.
said he was willing to work with the CoP and the Port-of-Spain licensing
office, which needed to be decentralised.
confirmed that he had met with Ishmael.
nail in coffin
in his office, his fingers interlocked, Ishmael said the increase
in tax was another nail in the coffin for the motor vehicle industry.
Government is out to destroy us by any means necessary, he
said the announcement came like a thief in the night, and that the
situation was made worse as the measure went into effect on September
23, within hours of its announcement. Ishmael felt the Government
could have implemented the new tax at the start of January, 2009,
giving them at least three months grace.
the 250 cars Ishmael has been allowed to sell this year, 210 were
he would have seen an influx of customers the day after the budget,
Ishmael said he saw only a trickle, with no one giving a commitment
thought customers would have rushed in here to get the remaining
40 vehicles which would have been tax-free. But this wasnt
a bid to keep his business afloat, Ishmael said his suppliers promised
to absorb some of the costs, but couldnt say for how long.
the last year, Ishmael said the used-car industry had taken a nosedive
in sales, which resulted in more than 150 dealers folding up business
within a matter of months.
the used-car dealers go under, Ishmael said approximately 20,000
employees would face the breadline.
however, was more concerned about customers who had placed orders
for vehicles that were being shipped from Japan and Singapore to
said a customer had pre-booked a $350,000 Lexus, which he had paid
for in full.
this customer would have to fork out an additional $40,000 in tax.
I dont know if he would ask back for his money or I would
end up with the Lexus on my hands. I would have to wait and see.
addition, Ishmael said several customers who had approached the
banks for loans would now have to restructure their finances.
customers, who had made down payments towards used-cars, were demanding
their money back, since they could not afford the additional cost.