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AIDAM: “New Procedures Complicate Car Imports to Mozambique”

AIDAM: “New Procedures Complicate Car Imports to Mozambique”

The vice-president of the Mozambican Automobile Importers and Distribution Association (AIDAM), Dalila Tsihlakis, expressed concern last Friday, 7 June, at the debate on ‘Car Imports and Marketing in Mozambique: Challenges and Prospects’, which took place at the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Maputo Auto Show, about the introduction of new procedures and mechanisms for importing cars into the country.

Sale of branded vehicles

In her opinion, importing cars into Mozambique has a significant impact on the lives of citizens, the environment, the economy and road infrastructure. “The import process for brand dealerships is becoming increasingly complicated, with the introduction of new procedures and mechanisms by organisations without coordination or consultation with the importing agents. Of course, all these initiatives are laudable but they are designed and implemented without consultation, which results in the strangulation of our business and the loss of customers,’ said Dalila Tsihlakis.

The source pointed to the presentation of the term of commitment and the foreign exchange law in the new system of the National Road Transport Institute (INATRO), as those causing high costs in car parks due to delays in dispatches, and also the lack of trust in Mozambican importers by suppliers due to constant delays in import payments. “All of this is making importing more difficult and increasing the costs for our customers when selling new vehicles.

Realising that safe and clean mobility is one of our government’s priorities, it’s obvious that these issues deserve an urgent solution,’ he said.

Use of electric vehicles

The vice-president of AIDAM recalled that the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mateus Magala, recently demanded that car import agents promote cleaner and less polluting transport. ‘Most of us are prepared to follow this path, but it’s impossible, since our electric vehicles, which are already expensive at source, are subject to the highest level of duty and specific consumption taxes at customs,’ she challenged, emphasising that ‘Mozambique is a producer of clean energy and is well placed to receive large subsidies and carbon credits with the massification and use of electric vehicles. The value of these subsidies will be much higher than the taxes and exemptions to massify their use”.

Dalila Tsihlakis

Dalila Tsihlakis explained that the use of electric vehicles should be implemented immediately and urgently. “Other benefits of widespread use will be a reduction in the value of fuel import bills, reducing the pressure on the country’s foreign currency. But the most important result will be the reduction of pollution in our environment, which is something that we are all responsible for. It’s not just emissions that cause pollution, we have issues like recycling tyres and batteries, which are being debated these days”.

He also highlighted the issue of importing used vehicles that are unsuitable for use on the roads, pointing out that they have a very negative effect on infrastructures and the environment.

The need for reflection on the increase in vehicles on national territory

On the same occasion, during his speech, the Mozambican President of the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA), Agostinho Vuma, urged reflection on the significant increase in the number of vehicles in the country, especially in the city and province of Maputo.

‘The dynamic level of annual growth of the car fleet and the vehicles that this industry handles obliges us, as never before, to seriously reflect on policies, particularly on the import and commercialisation of vehicles,’ he said, adding that ‘in this reform exercise, aimed at boosting the sector, it will be necessary to establish quotas in terms of vehicles imported into our country.’

The president of the CTA’s thinking is based on the growing number of vehicles in Portugal, which, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), in 2021 totalled 1.1 million vehicles, including 802,000 light vehicles and around 135,000 heavy vehicles, as well as another 9,624 tractors.

By the end of 2022, the number had risen to 1.2 million vehicles, an increase of around 5%, of which 528,179 correspond to the city and province of Maputo. According to the Bank of Mozambique, this growth was associated with a significant increase in imports of vehicles and accessories, which reached 29.9 billion meticals (473.4 million dollars) in 2023.

Agostinho Vuma

In this context, Agostinho Vuma emphasised the urgent need for policies and reforms to make the automotive sector more attractive to investors.

‘In order to create more efficient legislative measures and policies for the continued dynamisation of the sector, we must continue to work with the government, which will transmit the necessary confidence to investors, thus making it possible to increase the competitiveness of the car import and commercialisation sector on Mozambican soil.’

Agostinho Vuma

The source concluded by saying that ‘an approach like this could contribute significantly to the establishment of several agencies representing various international vehicle import and commercialisation brands in the country, thus contributing to increasing the capacity of the national vehicle import and commercialisation industry’.

Possible environmental solutions

Samson Cuamba, a representative of the Ministry of Land and Environment, who attended the event with the aim of addressing possible solutions to the environmental problems caused by the growing number of cars, shared that in 2014 the government approved a regulation that has to do with the management of what is classified as hazardous waste.

“From this perspective, in the context of decree no. 83/2014, of 30 December, tyres when they reach their last stage of life are classified as hazardous waste. Not only in the context of this decree, Mozambique is also a signatory to several conventions that deal with this issue.”

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Samson Cuamba

Continuing, the source explained: ‘since then, thinking positively about the challenges that are being faced at national level, this measure to ban the import, sale and use of second-hand tyres has not yet been implemented effectively, and once again needs to be consulted by the whole of civil society and the private sector. From the work we’ve done, in coordination with the Tax Authority, we’ve been able to record large volumes of used tyres that are scattered throughout the country.”

Tyres in an advanced state of use

Samson Cuamba explained that the Ministry of Land and Environment, through the National Directorate for the Environment, is the authority that guarantees the licensing of transporters of waste that is considered hazardous, including used tyres. ‘Batteries are also considered hazardous waste and when they reach the last stage of their life, they must be treated properly,’ he added.

“As we don’t have all the internal facilities in Mozambique to treat some waste that is classified as hazardous, we sometimes have to partner with countries that have the technology to do so, such as South Africa, which has received some of this type of waste. I’m highlighting the issue of used tyres and batteries here. In the case of tyres, we intend to focus on creating facilities for the formation of factories or processing plants in the country, which will also help to create jobs for citizens. Therefore, the tyre treatment project is welcome from an environmental point of view, but also from the point of view of income for those who are going to invest in this type of business on a national scale,’ he said.



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