During the presentation of this year’s $230B Budget two weeks ago, Government announced plans to ban the importation of used tyres. It also announced a tax reduction on new ones.
This revelation has seemly brought dismay amongst importers of used tyres, vulcanizing establishments and some vehicle owners.
The parliamentary opposition has also aired concerns on the issue, contending that the move by the newly elected government will put pressure on the low and middle income earners since new tyres are more expensive than used tyres.
Several environmentalists and businessmen, however, have given thumbs up to the government’s initiative which is to create a green economy.
While agreeing that the new tyres will cost more, those in support of the ban are calling on consumers to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, that is, the safety and the environmental threats that used tyres are contributing.
According to one tyre importer, Ron Persaud, owner of one of the leading tyre services in Guyana – Action Tyre, new tyres will not put a dent on the consumers’ pockets as being peddled in various sections of media..
Persaud has dedicated almost 40 years to his business and is considered one of the leading tyre specialists in Guyana.
During an interview on Monday, Persaud explained that the reduction of the duty on new tyres will pave the way for importers to increase the number of tyres being imported. It will make importers eligible for “quantity discount” meaning, the more you buy the less you pay.
Persaud continued that this will allow importers to sell at a “lower” price and with the competition expected to take place in the local market, the prices of new tyres will to go lower.
Currently, the price the most sought after tyre – that makes up 40 percent of the market – is $17,500 per unit. With the duty reduction and taking the quantity purchase into consideration, the price is expected to plummet to between $12,000 and $15,000 per tyre, Persaud said.
Disadvantages of used tyres
The major issue with used tyres being imported into Guyana, Persaud pointed out, is the lack of quality control.
He stated that given that the shelf life of a “properly stored” tyre is five years, the used tyres being imported are sometimes over five years old; some are 10, 15 and even 20 years old.
While admitting that used tyres “will always be around”, Persaud said that with only new tyres coming to Guyana – which will be required to be changed every five to seven years – Guyanese who cannot afford to buy a new tyre, can buy a used one from the local market because they will be know the life of the tyre as opposed to the unknown life of the imported used ones.
“Overseas, after these tyres are punctured, the steel inside (the tyre) becomes exposed (to moisture) and begins to rust; compromising the tyre itself.
Now after or before it is imported, it is repaired but the steel inside has already begun to rust…It is like steel (rod) in a post, after it is compromised, the post cracks. It is the same with the used tyre,” Persaud stated.
“When you have proper tyres, it also saves on the wear and tear of the car’s suspension, steering and bearings…New tyres have less rolling resistance; it improves on gas mileage.
“Why would you buy used tyres two, three (and) four times a year when you can buy brand new tyres and at the same time eliminate the health and safety concerns?”
As a provider of various services, Persaud related that the operatives of public transportation usually go after the used tyres. These operators, he stated, are not conscious of the tyres their buying.
He made reference to some minibuses that have four different types of tyres; which have different traction effect, weight and size.
This, he said, is very dangerous to the lives of people who rely on these services as a mode of transportation.
“Used tyres are a time bomb; an accident waiting to happen”
Persaud also aired his concern about the potential threats posed by the used tyres.
“(Used tyres) increase our solid waste and health concerns. A new tyre importer brings in one container of assorted tyres a month while a used tyre importer brings in two to four a month.
“Old tyres that are discarded are brought here for us to use.”
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