Posted: Wednesday 12th February 2014 at 7:53 am

Vehicle Importers Cry Out Over Cedi’s Depreciation

Used vehicles importers are also beginning to feel the pinch, following the rapid fall of the local currency, the cedi, against the major foreign trading currencies, particularly the US dollar.

According to them, the falling cedi and what they described as the numerous taxes imposed on their imported vehicles are making their vehicles more expensive, thereby threatening the survival of their business.

The cedi has depreciated by about four per cent since the beginning of the year and there seems to be no end in sight as far as the fall is concerned; a phenomenon which is creating a lot of uncertainty in the market.

Although the Bank of Ghana has come out with some measures to arrest the fall of the local currency, some currency analysts are not confident that it would have the expected impact on the situation at hand.

An importer of Korean cars, Mr Martin Gyamfi, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, disclosed that he had not been able to import any car in the last couple of months due to the exchange rates and the high import charges.

He said around April last year when the US dollar was 2.3, he imported some cars with $40, 000 (GH¢ 81, 200) but now that the dollar is pegged at 2.55, he would need GH¢102, 000 ($40, 000) to import the same number of cars.

“Per my calculations, i would incur a loss of GH¢8,000 if I continue importing the cars” Mr Gyamfi stated, adding that in order not to absorb the loss, he had no option but to pass on the cost to the customer. To him, this would make his vehicles too expensive and his capital could be locked up because it could take many months for the cars to be sold.

Mr Gyamfi also said last September, he spent GH¢13, 600 on a KIA Bongo car and was willing to sell it for GH¢15, 000, however a colleague of his just paid import charges, freight charges, all totaling GH16, 500 last week for the same car but due to the competition in the market, he was being compelled to sell the car for GH¢15, 000, which will mean a loss of GH¢1, 500.

Another car dealer at Tesano, Mr Kwame Gyasi, also lamented the high import charges.

He said the import charge for one truck was now GH¢54, 000, while the import charge for a Range Rover is now GH¢85, 000; a situation that was affecting their business negatively.

Mr Gyasi also added that the car dealers in the country contribute a lot when it comes to economic growth but regrettably, various governments are insensitive to their plights.

“I spend more than GH¢800, 000 on import duties every three months and all the money goes to the government as taxes, and if single handedly spending over GH¢800, 000 on import duties, then the government should know the amount of money the numerous car dealers in the country were contributing to government revenue”, Mr Gyasi added.

He indicated that if the government did not address their problems and they were thrown out of business, it would be affected as well.

Mr Gyasi also explained that the car dealers employ many mechanics since most of the vehicles that they import have problems that are fixed by these mechanics before they are offered for sale.

Some of these car dealers however endanger the lives of road users since some of them have turned some pavements at Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Caprice into a garage where they park their vehicles for sale. Some have even parked theirs on the street, forcing pedestrians to walk on the streets.

The Assistant Director for the Okaikoi South Sub-Metro office of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr Samuel Tetteh Mormor, said the sub-metro was aware of the menace and had already started towing some of the vehicles away.

He said since the area cited was under Okaikoi South’s jurisdiction, they would make sure that the vehicles are moved from the pavements and streets.

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