Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bhutan : Prized Prados’ price dearer

1 September, 2008 - Senior government officials, eligible for foreign vehicle import quota, will have to pay the 35 percent import tax if they wish to buy Toyota Prados.

This is in line with the ban on the quota imposed in May this year, according to the managing director of state trading corporation of Bhutan (STCBL), Samdrup K Thinley.

“The ban on Prado was to reduce the depletion of foreign exchange reserve,” said the managing director. A Prado costs about 13 million Japanese yen, which has to be paid in dollars. The 35 percent tax levied on a Prado includes 15 percent Bhutan sales tax and 20 percent import duty.

The quota is also being banned because ministers have downgraded their vehicle to Prados from Land Cruisers. “With the ministers driving Prados, even directors and director generals will not get Prados,” said the managing director.

Import of Toyota Prados has increased every year in Bhutan. Bhutan imported 225 Prados since the beginning of the year. Last year, Bhutan imported 111 Prados out of the 265 Toyota vehicles imported from Japan.

The managing director said that 47 more Prados will arrive in September. Of the 47, 18 are for members of parliament, five for private individuals and the rest for the government, including the ministers’ Prados.

About 70 percent of the customers are from Thimphu alone and the rest from Phuentsholing and other dzongkhags. The managing director said that the increase in the demand for Prados could be because of the festival season related to the Coronation. “People are buying Prados to hire out during the Coronation and Centenary celebrations in the coming months,” he said.

Meanwhile, STCBL generated Nu 840 million ngultrums from the sale of Toyota vehicles in 2007. This year, the company expects over one billion ngultrums.

“We’re expecting about a 50 percent increase,” said Samdrup K Thinley.

By Tenzing Lamsang


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