Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has informed that the Ministry is resuming the certification of new used car dealers as the special audit of the sector is near completion.
“At the time of the audit, I indicated that I did not intend to certify any new players until the audit was complete. The audit is near completion but the data that we have collected is sufficient to enable me to resume the processing of new applicants to the business of used car dealing,” the Minister informed.
He was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association held yesterday (Oct. 22) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
He noted that only three applications have been received so far and lamented the fact that 17 car dealers have left the business, which now has a complement of 133 members, down from 150.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (centre), is greeted by President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association, Mr. Kenneth Shaw (right), when he arrived at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on October 22, for the annual general meeting of the Association.
The Minister had instructed a suspension of the granting of certification to new businesses to operate as used car dealers, following a meeting with stakeholders in the used car sector, Ministry officials and its Motor Vehicle Committee.
Consequently, an audit was ordered in April based on the recommendation of the Trade Board, which felt that some dealers were not operating in the best interest of the industry, specifically in relation to the importation of over-aged vehicles.
“We decided that based on information that I got from the Trade (Board) . (that) there were a number of players, who were conducting their affairs in a manner that was inimical to the interest of the industry and that their advice would be to conduct an audit to ensure that everyone, who is certified, has the requisite facilities to accommodate and to strengthen the industry,” Minister Samuda pointed out.
The Minister noted further that the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) the agency conducting the audit, has come against resistance primarily in the corporate area. He said that of the 133 members, who are certified used car dealers, only 66 co-operated with the survey. He said that there was better co-operation in the rural areas.
“Some of you (car dealers) made it very difficult for (the CAC) to get interviews, to get information, and so it made it much more difficult for us to get the report that we needed, which was in your interest, to protect the honest players in the system and to seek to identify those who were not engaged in a manner that was in the interest of the industry,” he stated.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), and President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association, Mr. Kenneth Shaw (left) discuss the contents of a document, at the annual general meeting of the Association, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, on October 22.
He informed however that the results of that survey to date, “are very favourable,” noting that in terms of the tax payer audit and assessment compliance, of the 66 surveyed, only three were not compliant “which is a good sign and we are very happy about that.”
Minister Samuda, at the time of suspending certification of new used car dealers, had instructed that no new import licences must be issued for over-aged vehicles without specific approval.
He had also instructed that no import licences must be granted to dealers who had shipped over-aged vehicles, prior to receiving import licences, and that any exception to this, would be considered as a ‘special case’ to be examined on an individual basis.
The Minister had further stipulated that any request to amend the chassis number on any import licence for over-aged vehicles would not be permitted, unless specific approval was granted by him.