The imported vehicles include private cars, pick-up vans and microbuses, the revenue officials said
Import of reconditioned vehicles has hit an all time high to 23,102 in FY18, the highest in last eight years.
According to the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA), the volume of imported reconditioned vehicles has been continuously rising over the last five years.
In FY13, the number of imported reconditioned vehicles was 7,353. Later, in FY14, the import volume increased to 14,427. That number rose again to 17,055 in FY15, according to data of the National Board of Revenue.
Following the same trend in FY16, 19,467 vehicles were imported. The number rose to 20,149 in FY17. Finally in FY18, 23,102 vehicles were imported, indicating a growth of 14.57% compared to the previous fiscal year.
The imported vehicles include private cars, pick-up vans and microbuses, the revenue officials said.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, industry experts explained that an increase in the number of ridesharing services, development of road infrastructure, low-cost car loans for government officials, and a lack of public transport options played a key role in this import growth.
“The rise in popularity of ridesharing services as cheap and comfortable transport options has played a major role in increasing car imports,” said BARVIDA President Habib Ullah Dawn.
Some experts estimate ridesharing platforms have contributed to an average of 5-10% import growth in the automobile market in recent years.
Md Shohag, an Uber driver, said he was earning Tk1, 000 per day, after expenses and paying the owner of the vehicle he drives.
Another Uber driver, Md Ripon started offering rides within two days of buying his own car.
“I bought my own car just to offer rides and make a good amount of money to run my family,” said Ripon, adding that he earns around Tk2000 every day.
However, many car importers in Dhaka disagree with the notion that ridesharing services on their own could have played such a big role in driving the growth of car imports.
Assistant General Manager of Nippon Car Trading, Md Shah Alam Bhuiyan, told the Dhaka Tribune that only about 5% of his customers had bought cars to be used for ride sharing.
“Last year, 5000 government officials bought private cars for personal use after the government provided them with the opportunity to avail car loans with very low interest rates,” said BARVIDA President, Habib, suggesting this was another reason behind the growth in auto imports.
Former president of BARVIDA and Autocon Group CEO, Abdul Hamid Sharif, explained that due to excellent economic growth in the last decade, the purchasing power of people has increased.
“Additionally, Dhaka’s roads have become more developed,” he added, explaining that this may have also driven the car import growth.