Ministries relaunch used car import policy


13-September-2012

Director general for policy and strategy Rupert Simeon of the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment told Nation the rules have been there but “now that everybody has access to the information through the internet and otherwise, the government is enforcing it fully granting reprieve to just a few vehicles either already headed for Seychelles or impounded by the authorities.

The policy says used vehicles – including motorcycles – must not be older than three years and must be for passenger use only.

The exception is for returning residents or graduates only who must register the vehicles in their names and will not be allowed to sell or transfer the vehicles for two years following registration at the Seychelles Licensing Authority.

“The vehicle must be landed here no later than six months from the first day of returning residents’ arrival in Seychelles,” he said, adding only one vehicle is allowed per returnee, who must be 18 years old or above.

“A returning resident once granted an import permit will not be allowed to import another second hand motor vehicle should he or she decide to move overseas again,” he said, explaining the importer is liable to pay all applicable taxes and levy on the vehicle, at the time it is registered for customs clearance.

“Should the importation fail to meet this policy, the customs division reserves the right to dispose of the vehicle as prescribed under Revenue Law,” he said.

He said the policy relaunch is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport (MHAT) after reviewing it.
 
“The need to revise the policy follows a recommendation by the MFTI to cabinet recently, to authorise an amnesty for a number of passenger motor vehicles, including motorbikes, which had been detained by customs for some time for non-compliance with the policy.”

He said the amnesty to release those vehicles in customs’ custody was approved with conditions that the current policy be reviewed, where necessary, with the view to addressing current inconsistencies.

 The two ministries have since met on a number of occasions to refine the policy, which is now being made public.
 
 The cut-off date for the amnesty was September 10, 2012 and applies to motor vehicles that have already left any foreign port destined for Seychelles.
 
The new policy will now feature on all major government websites especially that of the Seychelles Revenue Commission for the benefit of general public, the Seychelles Investment Bureau for the benefit of investors and the National Human Resource Development Council for the benefit of students overseas.

“It will also be circulated to Seychelles’ embassies and representations overseas, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the benefit of Seychellois living abroad.

In addition, the MFTI will ensure that the policy is widely communicated, as well as ensuring the public has access to it.
 
A media campaign will start in the days that follow, by both MFTI and MHAT.

Mr Simeon said relevant queries may be directed to the import & export permit office at Liberty House through telephone number 4382000 during normal working hours.
 
The two ministries have stressed that with the coming into force of the revised policy, no discretion will be given in the future for importations that fail to abide by it.

“The ministries have emphasised that the onus lies with the importer to ensure that vehicles coming to Seychelles satisfy the policy in place,” he said.

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