Oman issues vehicle import ban
The importance of the used car market is something that simply cannot be underrated. For many, the availability of pre-owned automobiles has provided the opportunity to own a set of wheels even when on a shoestring budget. But it is worth noting that it isn’t only the frugal it caters to, for the used car market offers the middle-class and higher stratas the ability to own something special once depreciation has taken its sock on showroom prices, too.
In 2009, Saudi Arabia was the first to introduce a ban on imports of cars, buses and LGVs more than five years old. A significant step considering in the year prior to the ban, 140,000 vehicles had been imported into the Kingdom accounting for 24% of total car imports.
Towards the end of 2009, the UAE attempted to follow in the Kingdom’s footsteps and bring in a blanket-ban on all vehicles over ten years of age. Thankfully, the President stepped in and didn’t allow it to pass. But just six years later, Oman is the newest member to have jumped aboard the import bandwagon.
Ali Al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, issued a decision on 19th July banning the import of private vehicles older than seven years. While Omanis can import an unlimited number of used vehicles in a year under these rules, non-Omanis can only import one vehicle, using their civil number.
Unsurprisingly, social media sites were rife with Omanis claiming that such a decision is in the interests of traders and businessmen, not consumers. Ahmad Al Mashani, a national, said that Omanis with a salary below 500 Rials (Dh4,770) cannot afford to buy new vehicles. According to another national, Naseeb Al Hashemi, the decision is another step towards the monopolisation of the local car industry.
Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said, “this decision came into being after many GCC countries banned the import of used vehicles less than five year old.” Meanwhile, officials at the Royal Oman Police (ROP) claim that the number of imported vehicles from neighbouring countries, mostly from the UAE, stood at more than 85,000 vehicles in 2014.
Source: Gulf News