New Samoa Auto Import Restrictions Pushed Back Until April

Change in age limits for vehicles from 12 to 8 years delayed

By Sarafina Sanerivi

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 18, 2017) – The implementation of the government’s decision to limit the age of imported vehicles from twelve to eight years has been pushed back.

Contrary to reports that the law becomes effective this week, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the start date has been pushed back to April.

The implementation of the government’s decision to limit the age of imported vehicles from twelve to eight years has been pushed back.

Contrary to reports that the law becomes effective this week, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the start date has been pushed back to April.

Last week, the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, defended the government’s decision.

“We’re doing what we have to do for the benefit of our people,” Papali’i told the Samoa Observer.

 “It’s also with climate change in mind. We have to make sure that we don’t get a lot of cars polluting the air through carbon emissions. We get that from old vehicles because they blow out black fumes."

 “The other thing is that as you can see, the roads are so congested, there are so many cars. That’s because people can afford cheap cars for $12,000, $10,000 but then I am sure they won’t last. Maybe they’ll have them for a few years and then that’s it.”

Papali’i was asked for a comment in response to a call by a New Zealand based lawyer, Haseeb Ashraf, who urged the government to reconsider its decision.

Speaking on behalf of their family business, Apia Motors, Mr. Ashraf said the government has forced them to reconsider their operation in Samoa.

 “It’s going to be very difficult for not only us, but many members in the industry to survive,” he said. “We are reviewing our options and one of those options is packing up. That’s very unfortunate because we employ locals, we give a lot business, and we pay taxes and everything.”

Papali’i said Apia Motors decision to leave is theirs to make.

“If they want to leave then they can leave,” the Minister said.  “We have to try and ensure that this is not a dumping ground for old cars so we need to change. We need to go forward and I don’t see the problem with it, it’s just changing the year to ensure that we get better cars."

 “We will get newer cars because we’re changing the quality from twelve to eight years. So we will be getting newer cars that are four years better. People complain because it doesn’t satisfy them.”

Samoa Observer
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