Liberalization for cars with foreign license plates or attempt to pull wool over Ukrainians' eyes?
Texr from the blog of Illia Kyva on the website LB.ua
As is known, a car is not a luxury, but a mode of transportation. And for many Ukrainians today the car is also a mode of surviving.
Owners of inexpensive cars brought from Europe, their "iron horses" often serve as almost the only source of income. Representatives of small businesses use cars to deliver goods to their stores, and ordinary car owners work using them as a taxi... And many people at the same time use cars with foreign license plates.
However, our state cannot calmly look at how its citizens are trying to survive through self-employment. And it actively put a spoke in wheels of those who do not expect mercy from the state and tries to independently turn their lives around.
Recently, the parliamentary committee on tax and customs policy presented two bills concerning the importation of used cars from Europe to Ukraine. One of them provides for a reduction in the cost of customs clearance of cars, and the second one — a toughening of liability for the use of cars with foreign license plates that did not pass customs clearance.
Head of the committee Nina Yuzhanina presents these bills almost as a panacea for all troubles for automobilists. But is it really so?
Let's remember the historical background. Ten years ago, after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ukraine was forced to cancel the ban on the importation of cars older than eight years into the country. The ban was abolished, but instead of it customs duties were imposed in the amount that imports of cars from Europe became absolutely unfavorable.
Today, Yuzhanina and her colleagues just offer to return the cost of customs clearance to "pre-ban level." But will the new tariffs be affordable for Ukrainians? It is very doubtful.
If new tariffs are approved, the cost of customs clearance of a car with a 2,800 cubic centimeter engine will reach EUR 2,100. It is really six times cheaper than now. However, let's imagine the situation: a Ukrainian family has scraped all the corners and collected EUR 2,000 to go abroad and buy a car. And when crossing the border to return to the homeland the state says to it: pay me another EUR 2,100. Is this approach justified? Of course, it is not.
I could face objections: they say, cars pollute the environment and create jams on the roads. And the state, they say, needs money to overcome the consequences of all these. But may I say that the owners of cars pay a toll and excise duty on every liter of gasoline! The question is: where does this money go? Gentlemen from the government, one should steal less! Then additional fees from people, who bought cars in Europe, are not needed.
Ukrainian officials forget the golden rule of a statesman: if you cannot help, at least do not get in someone's road. If a Ukrainian imports a car from abroad in order to organize a small business, the state should only welcome it. And by imposing customs duties on cars, the country only creates unnecessary difficulties for the development of small business.
And, finally, as far as it is concerned the registration of cars imported from abroad. Of course, every car must be registered. Bringing to justice violators of traffic rules, perpetrators of road accidents depends on this. But the mandatory registration does not mean that one should remove the shirt off the back of Ukrainians for importing a car from abroad! On the contrary, the lower the customs rates are, the more willing Ukrainians will change cars with foreign license plates to Ukrainian plates.
For all these reasons, Yuzhanina's bills are not even half measures. These are simply attempts to pull the wool over Ukrainians' eyes. After all, the new customs rates will leave cheap cars a pipe dream for most of our citizens.