The Government of Tajikistan has prepared a draft resolution, on the basis of which, from January 1, 2024, the import of cars manufactured before 2013 will be prohibited into the country.
This decision is justified by the increase in fatal traffic accidents involving old cars, as well as the increase in air pollution caused by a large number of imported cars.
The authorities have not yet officially announced the adoption of such a decision. A copy of the decision, which was at the disposal of Radio Ozodi, states that the Customs Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are obliged to bring their documents in line with this government decision.
Some of the drivers who face traffic jams and congestion every day welcome the government’s intentions.
Bakhtiyor Zarifov, a resident of Dushanbe, has found himself in this situation more than once. On July 20, he told Radio Ozodi that the increase in the number of old cars leads to long traffic jams and at the same time affects the level of air pollution.
“Old cars have a negative impact on the environment because they have worn out engines. New cars have modern and environmentally friendly engines, less carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, with the adoption of such a decision, there will be great progress,” he said.
However, another group of drivers believe that long traffic jams and fatal accidents have nothing to do with the age of the car. In their opinion, the ban on the import of cars that were produced before 2013 cannot lead to a decrease in traffic accidents or a decrease in air pollution.
Saidabror, a resident of Dushanbe, says: “I believe that accidents do not depend on the year of manufacture of cars. It depends on people who do not have the appropriate education, who have bought a driver’s license. Nothing depends on the car, whether it is produced in 1990 or 2000.
At the beginning of 2018, the government of Tajikistan already banned the import of cars manufactured earlier than 2005. Then some car dealers complained that they were informed of this decision late, and the cars they bought for sale were stuck in the middle of the road.
Some used car dealers, citing the previous government decision as an example, say that the next decision could increase the cost of the car and limit citizens’ access to buying a car.
Bahodur Rakhimov, one such seller, told Radio Ozodi on July 21 that a decision to ban the import of cars manufactured before 2013 would do more harm than good.
“Now I have a 2001 Opel Zephyra, and I’m not going to change it to a 2020 model. Because she is still in good condition. When you buy a 2020-2023 car and use it for 2 years, you start thinking about the gearbox. And high-quality cars cost more than 500-600 thousand somoni, which not all car buyers can afford, and even after working all their lives, they will not be able to buy such an expensive car,” Bakhodur explained.
Our interlocutor also stressed that if the ban on the import of cars manufactured earlier than 2013 is nevertheless implemented, entrepreneurs will try to import old cars into the country, forging the year of manufacture of the car and other documents. According to him, with the implementation of this decision, corruption in the import of cars may increase.
The authorities of Tajikistan, in particular the Customs Service under the government, have not yet commented on this issue. On July 21, the head of the press center of this department, Aziz Rakhimov, answered Radio Ozodi’s questions: “Send your questions about this in writing, and we will answer them.”
For the past few days, social media users have been discussing the topic of the government’s decision to ban the import of old cars.
One of them, named Rukhiddin Ochildiyev, wrote in a comment under a Facebook post about this decision: “With our salaries of 2,000 somoni, when will we be able to become owners of 2014 cars?”
Abdugani Rashidov, another user, wrote: “This is a very good decision … and a timely one … there are too many cars.”
Other users, in response, gave examples from the experience of countries where there are no restrictions on the use of cars by year of manufacture, and all conditions are created for drivers and all road users.
According to the country’s Customs Service, over 21,000 cars were imported to Tajikistan in just 6 months of last year, which is 4,000 more than in the same period of the year before last.