Samar El Khoury
centralOn the roads of Lebanon, the scene is no longer the same as it was previously, that is, before the year 2019, when luxury cars and that “model of the year” were the master of the scene, as the Lebanese have always sought to own a modern car that has all kinds of luxury.
Today, the scene has changed. Modern cars are few and rare, while luxury cars, especially four-wheel drives, have been greatly reduced.
The reasons for this phenomenon are many, including the economic situation, banks not giving loans to facilitate the purchase of cars, the rise in the customs dollar that raised the price of cars for the merchant, then for the citizen, and others…
By looking at the attached table, it becomes clear that with the start of work in the new customs dollar, car prices will become “imaginary”, which indicates that the auto sector in Lebanon is facing an increasing crisis.
Based on this reality, Walid Francis, the head of the Syndicate of Used Car Owners in Lebanon, confirms to Markazia that the adoption of the customs dollar according to an exchange platform will not only close more showrooms in the country, but will also eliminate the rest of the showrooms in it, and all of them will be closed without the slightest doubt.
In fact, the launch of work at the new customs dollar price (after the current 12) according to an exchange rate, or 60 thousand pounds, or even 45 thousand pounds means that merchants are unable to ship after today, which Francis describes as “genocide of the sector.”
In addition to the imaginary numbers that the merchant will incur, Francis believes that raising the customs dollar from 15 thousand pounds to 90 thousand in one fell swoop practically means creating huge differences in car prices between a merchant who entered a car at the price of the customs dollar 15 thousand pounds and another who entered it after a week at the exchange rate. And these differences, according to Francis, reach the limits of 40 thousand dollars, “Fresh”, so how will the exhibition be able to sell in this situation? Answer: He has to wait for more than a year and a half to be able to sell his cars.
20 percent of the state treasury’s revenues come from used cars, and 20 percent from related sectors such as accessories, car parts, wheels, and oils. Exhibitions will no longer be imported, which will mean “zero” income from the automotive sector and the sectors that revolve around it.
And he asks, “Then how will the state be able to cover the wages and salaries of the public sector? While today, according to the currently approved fees, it is faltering, so how would it be if we stopped importing?!
To Dubai Dar
And with the start of work on the new schedule, Francis confirms that the cars that will arrive at the port of Beirut in the coming days will be shipped directly to Dubai, where the car customs fee there does not exceed 5 percent of the value of the car. While paying car fees in Lebanon requires a “van” to ship the money, because paying by check is no longer acceptable, and waiting a full day for the completion of opening the cartons and counting the money inside!
With a simple arithmetic, the price difference between neighboring countries and Lebanon can be compared.
The trader/consumer in Lebanon pays about 55 percent of the price of the car in fees, of which 5 percent is legal, which is a fee agreed upon with the European Union according to the “Paris II” treaty, in addition to 45 percent, as an illegal fee, imposed by the state in a manner crooked, and meets it with a single compass under the name “consumption within”, and thus the state has defrauded the European Union, the merchant and the consumer for more than 30 years,” says Francis, who stresses the need to cancel this “consumption fee” in addition to the 11 percent fee. TVA, and 6 percent registration fees… From here, Francis says, we cannot be treated like other sectors whose taxes do not exceed 5 percent.
Escalate ‘next week’
Francis confirms that they are about to escalate next week, “We will have protest movements at the beginning of the week, because we will not accept our displacement because of their wrong policies, through their continuous endeavor to impoverish and starve the citizens.”