By Muluken Yewondwossen
A new directive to ban the import of outdated second hand cars to Ethiopia is to be ratified shortly after the Ethiopian New Year. The government thereby seeks to reduce the number of fuel consuming and polluting vehicles in the country.
The ban will be passed by the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) and has been under study for more than two years now. The ministry has finished its economic analysis and set the criteria for cars that are allowed to be imported.
Recently the policy planing department has transferred its conclusions to the legal department to setup the regulation. “We evaluated the draft and returned it to the policy and planning department again, because it needs a detailed specification on technical and age restrictions of the imported secondhand vehicles,” a source from the legal department told Capital.
“The directive is in its final stage and we expect it to be indorsed in the first half of this budget year by the new parliament,” the source added. The ministry has studied various policies of different countries on the import of secondhand vehicles. It tried to assign a foreign consultancy firm to undertake the study, but ended up preparing the policy itself.
According to the source, the new directive focuses on the import ban of outdated secondhand vehicles, which cars are forbidden will be clearly specified. The new law that is thought to be necessary to enhance effective usage of fuel and spare part, as well as reducing pollution was originally expected to be ratified by July 2008.
Experts say the ban will also reduce the number of traffic accidents that have been sky-high for several years now. More than half of the cars driving around in the country suffer from technical inefficiencies or are simple run-down, the Addis Ababa Traffic Police office has stated. This is one of the factors causing the number of accidents to rise.
The ban is expected to encourage Ethiopians to import new cars or buy them from local manufacturers, which will have a positive economic effect. “If the country encourages the import of new vehicles by tax and customs due, its foreign currency savings will be freed from additional cost of spare parts and fuel. Also local manufacturers are expected to improve their capacity and see their market grow,” an expert at the Transport Authority said.