Bhutanese importers feel the heat as govt. suspends import of vehicles

If the ban is prolonged, the company will face difficulties to sustain, according to the vehicle importers

Bhutanese vehicle importers have hit hard following the government’s decision of the moratorium on the import of non-essential vehicles.
However, vehicle dealers in the country are going to suggest the government to lift the ban after six months and allow to import of booked vehicles among others.
The general manager of Singkhar Private Ltd, Kia Bhutan, Kumar Subba said that if the ban is prolonged, the company will face difficulties to sustain. “The company may have to lay off the employees.”
“We have to honour the decision of the government,” he said adding that the government should lift the ban after six months and allow to import of booked vehicles as they have a letter of credit with banks.
The senior general manager of Bhutan Hyundai, Pema Lodey said that if the moratorium last long, the company might not be able to sustain itself and may have to lay off the staff.
“We would not be in a position

to pay salary to staff, besides paying loans and rent,” he said.
He said that the government had no other solution and found the moratorium as an immediate measure to the reserve currency, the import of vehicles being a high-value external investment. We have to respect the objective.
In addition, he shared that the government will also lose revenue of about Nu 150 -200mn from a single vehicle importer. “The importer pays green tax, business income tax, and sale tax. Of course, the government must have already calculated the revenue and reserve,” he said.
The general manager of State Trading Corporation of Bhutan Ltd, Sangay Tshering said the dealers respect the decision of the government. “It is for the nation’s cause. If not acted on time, there will impact in long term,” he said.
“Though immediate implementation of the policy will affect the dealers, we will have to look for alternatives to sustain,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Bhutanese vehicle dealers are taking the government’s mortarium on imports of vehicles positively concerning the measure to save the foreign currency reserve.
Finance minister Namgay Tshering issued a notification on August 18 to suspend the import of select vehicles with immediate effect- August 19 until further notice.
The notification states the moratorium is to uphold the constitutional provision and most importantly to address the macroeconomic imbalances that the entire world is going through; as an initiative toward protecting our foreign currency reserve.
All the vehicles including two-wheelers except utility vehicles, heavy earthmoving machines, and agricultural machineries. The utility vehicle costs less than Nu 15,00,000 equivalent to USD 20,000 whichever less shall be allowed.
Vehicles for the use and promotion of tourism shall be exempted from this moratorium according to the notification. The term and condition vehicle type and number to avail of the exemption shall be submitted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
Taxis, both fossil and electric due for replacement shall be exempted from the moratorium.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu