Regional Consultation on Vehicle Import Policy Road map for Clean Air

An initiative of Centre for Science and Environment, India
Date and Time: May 31, 2018 (9.30 am – 5.00 pm)
Venue: Maru Maru Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar


CSE organised Combating Dumping of Used Vehicles: Regional Consultation on Roadmap for Vehicle Import Policy in Africa and South Asia for Clean Air on May 31, 2018 in Zanzibar. This workshop represents our initiative to promote good regulatory practices, facilitate exchange of ideas and strengthen capacity in the region to address the emerging challenge of clean vehicle technology and fuel quality roadmap with special focus on vehicle import. 

Increasing vehicle numbers is adding to air pollution and congestion in African cities. Used vehicle import is one of the biggest challenges that the region is facing. Majority of the African countries as well as countries in Asia are dependent on used vehicle import from Europe, US and Japan except very few countries that have their own vehicle manufacturing or assembling capacities. Action has begun in many countries to reduce importation of used vehicles with strategies such as age restriction, high taxation, environment levy etc and promoting import of new vehicles and setting up assembly plants. It is imperative for the region to address this unique issue with harmonised approach for clean and energy efficient vehicles. But this also brings to focus the role of the exporting countries. This forum brought together officials from the African and Asian region dealing with vehicle import to discuss challenges, share initiatives and best practice and suggest a way forward for the region.

Officials from 13 countries in the African (Mauritius, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia and Zanzibar) and South Asia (Bhutan and Nepal) region participated in the forum representing Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Mauritius; Ministry of Works and Transport and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda; Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana; Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT) and Federal Ministry of Environment (FME), Nigeria; Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC), Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA), Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Addis Ababa Transport Bureau, Ethiopia; National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya;  Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications, Tanzania; Mozambique Revenue Authority and Ministry of Environment, Mozambique; Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Transport, Côte d'Ivoire; Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), Zambia; Department of Environment and Zanzibar Environmental Management Authority, Zanzibar; Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA), Bhutan and Department of Transport Management (DoTM), Nepal.

The inaugural session: Setting the agenda 

The workshop started with a keynote address by Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE emphasising on importance of South-South dialogue on clean air strategies and learning from each other. Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, CSE presented CSE’s assessment - Combating dumping of used vehicles: A roadmap for Africa and South Asia. CSE has been working on the vehicle import issue, unique and key issue for the African region for the past two years. CSE carried out a comparative analysis of local imperatives and regulatory approaches to addressing used vehicle trade in Africa and South Asia that are most vulnerable to end-of-the-pipe trade to understand this issue better and inform the governments in importing countries of Africa and South Asia as well as to inform the global multilateral discussion on this matter. This study was necessary to understand the imperatives of both the importing as well as exporting countries to find the possible solutions based on shared responsibility. For this assessment, periodic round table discussions have been organised with the concerned regulators and stakeholders from different countries of Africa and South Asia to review the issues, status, roadmap and gain local insight in a participatory manner. 

Session 2: Regulatory and fiscal measures to control used vehicle import 

This inaugural session was followed by session on country presentations on regulatory and fiscal measures to control used vehicle import. Nassir Ally Khadun, former Acting Road Transport Commissioner National Transport Authority and member of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Mauritius presented about Mauritius initiatives of changing from CO2 based import policy and taxes to engine size based approach, reasons and imperatives, impact and next steps. Nathan Tumushabe, Senior Inspector of Vehicles, Ministry of Works and Transport and Jennifer Kutesakwe, Senior Environment Inspector, NEMA, Uganda presented country’s strategy of environment levy on used vehicles, vehicle age restriction and vehicle emissions inspection. Tumushabe explained the four strategic interventions (imposing an environment levy on used vehicles, vehicle emission inspection, vehicle age restriction and pre-shipment inspection) adopted and implemented to improve the country’s vehicle fleet. Baba Bukari Musah, Chief Revenue Officer, GRA shared initiatives of age restriction, over-age penalty imposed on vehicles and higher taxation on big engine vehicle categories in Ghana, impact and next steps. Nigeria experience on higher taxes on used vehicles and promoting vehicle assembly plants, impact and next steps was presented by Anthonia A. Ekpa, Director Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration, FMoT in a joint FMoT-FME presentation. Yehalem Tesera, Senior Vehicle Service Control Officer, Addis Ababa Transport Bureau, Ethiopia shared about Ethiopia’s transportation system, vehicle import policy and new tariff tax proposal in a joint ERCA, MoFEC, MEFCC and Addis Ababa Transport Bureau presentation. Muitungu Mwai, Principal Compliance and Monitoring Officer and In charge Air Quality Section, NEMA, Kenya talked about the age restriction and higher taxation for used vehicles under the vehicle import policy of Kenya, impacts and next steps. Stephen Malekano, Principal Customs Officer and Joseph Yongo, Research Officer, TRA shared the policy status on vehicle imports, impact, lessons and next steps for Tanzania. Anselmo Manuel Beula Fumo, Director of Customs, Mozambique Revenue Authority shared about the country’s vehicle import policy, extra tax imposed on used vehicles, challenges and next steps. 

Session 3: Country interventions from the South Asia and African region 

Post lunch the session started with presentations from South Asia, Bhutan and Nepal. Karma Pemba, Chief Transport Officer, Transport Development Division, RSTA, Ministry of Information and Communications, Bhutan presented country’s experience on vehicle import regulations and ban on used vehicles import, impact, lesions and next steps. Ram Chandra Poudel, Senior Divisional Engineer, DoTM, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Nepal shared Nepalese experience on vehicles management, ban on used vehicle import, emission standards, impact, lessons and next steps. Gnamien Stéphane Meney, Ministry of Environment and Dembélé, Diakaridja Ministry of Transport, Côte d'Ivoire presented the vehicle import policy and age restriction in Côte d'Ivoire and impact, lessons and next steps. Nkanga Shimwandwe, Deputy Commissioner – Customs Services, ZRA presented the vehicle import policy status for Zambia in a joint presentation with Chrispin Simwanza, Principal Inspector and Head – Air and Noise, ZEMA and Joseph Mumba, Principal Registration Officer, RTSA, Zambia. 

Session 4: Discussion on barriers to design effective solutions for used vehicle imports and how can harmonised policy be promoted in the region to enable effective action in countries to control dumping of used vehicles and improve fuel quality and vehicle emission standards 

The concluding session focused on barriers to design effective solutions for used vehicle imports and how can harmonised policy be promoted in the region to enable effective action in countries to control dumping of used vehicles and improve fuel quality and vehicle emission standards.  It was observed and CSE said that countries are already working towards a range of measures such as age restriction, fiscal measures and tax measures sending out fiscal signals. There is also evidence to show that in some case it made a dent asking for further improvement. South Asia opted for the ban and fiscal measures to discourage used vehicles and encourage electric vehicles. The process has started but the key issue is how to take it forward. Clearly there is a flow of used vehicles. In addition to what the individual countries are doing the exporting countries need to do as well. South Asia is getting vehicles from Asia and also Japan. Legally China and India does not export used vehicles though there might be through porous borders. But Japan etc are exporting vehicles into Africa. Nepal is following India and planning to go to Euro VI. South Asian can go for regional harmonisation. But this must be a challenge for Africa. 

There was a round of discussion and comments from participating officials and CSE. 

Kutesakwe wanted to know how India did it or if there was an external pressure. CSE informed that India doesn’t import any used vehicles. Any vehicle that is imported has to meet Euro IV standards. Vehicles are intensely used in India and there are no incentives for exporting used vehicles. Kutesakwe pointed out that exporting countries tempt Africa countries with their old vehicles and wanted to know if there is a way this can be stopped and if an age limit be put on Japan so that they can’t tempt the poor countries? 

Abdulkadir Ibrahim, Assistant Director, FMoT, Nigeria commented that each policy is working towards achieving reduction in emissions and to control aiming at reduction of emissions from importation used vehicles. Legal framework for implementation is one of the basic principles to be looked at. He appreciated CSE’s work and suggested that as a regional level from West Africa, it is important to identify 3 countries (Togo, Benin etc) not represented and are the dumping ground of used vehicles. Their country governments treat used vehicles as a revenue source. Its very critical to have representation from these African countries to see how their governments are dealing with used vehicles. Used vehicles come from France, China etc. Another very critical issue is that most of the importation is from land border from Niger down to Nigreria. He suggested that CSE should make a policy/framework for each country to mitigate action to achieve reducing and controlling importation of sued vehicles. 

Ekpa informed that Mali also has such old vehicles and this kind of matter is not taken to ECOWAS. There is a need to highlight it and they would try to highlight this important issue. She suggested that CSE should visit ECOWAS to discuss this issue. She also mentioned about the Lagos-Abidjan corridor (Nigeria and Ivory Coast) and Benin for Nigeria. 

Ojo commented that every country is trying very hard and seriously its commendable. The way forward is that it is important for every country to encourage use of urban mass transportation. Individuals in each country are trying to get on to their own vehicles. A way should be found to provide a safe and effective mobility for people enmass that would reduce number of vehicles on the road. Each country should think of encouraging mass transportation. There should be collaboration between various Ministries/departments in each country. For example, MoT works with the MoE and MoE works with the MoH. The issue being discussed has medical, economic, environmental and political concerns. These are very important as these are tied to the economy. Countries which are throwing these used vehicles on developing countries are economically stabilised, which developing countries are not. He added that the message that can encourage the African countries or that can make to move forward is to actually know the impact on health and environment. Environmental pollution is a concern build to economy. Message that can move forward is on health and environment. One can do emission standards etc but when it is not quantified in terms of health impact or economic impact decision makers think numbers are playing with figures. Therefore collaboration with other sectors is also important as these things have economic impact. Other important issue is area of obsolescence/data and yes we have it. Do countries know when their vehicles become useless? Issues like end of life of vehicles, how to handle old vehicles when it becomes waste is important and decision makers should be approached. Technology transfer is also important like getting into EV technology and to move forward. He suggested regularising, regulating and controlling the market using ECOWAS operation.

Pemba added that developing countries are poor countries and that rich countries are dumping used vehicles. But developing countries have a voice, just saying that the countries are poor doesn’t make any sense. Its not easy either to work on it. There is a need to provide options, an efficient and affordable mass transit system and then only the countries can say no to used vehicles. He appreciated CSE and its role and mentioned that institutes like CSE play a big role and CSE can raise voice against this issue. The developing or the poor countries should also be given support so that poor countries can be given a say to say no to used vehicles. 

Hearing the comments CSE said that its very much doable. 

Simwanza asked the participating countries don’t they have a voice. Rich countries are taking advantage of poor countries and dumping their old and polluting used vehicles and as its cheaper the poor countries are taking it. 

Khadun added that level of preparedness in reducing importation of second hand vehicles can be clearly seen. Some countries are at the inception stage and others are taking proper steps for better and cleaner transport. Mobility is an important issue and root of development in all countries. He suggested that participating officials should take the ideas gathered in this consultation to their respective countries and departments and put up information and ask questions on how to move forward. Perceived in the population as oppressive, change can come gradually. Knock down vehicles are still being accepted. The quality and safety of vehicles is important and ultimately goal can be reached. It is important to trigger internal move first in each country otherwise we will move very-very slow. African countries are grouped into regional forums. This issue should be taken up through regional associations within Africa. A proper document showing all drawbacks should be prepared. Though this issue is important its not being discussed in international forums. 

Tumushabe said that everybody is aware of the dangers of pollution and that taxes contribute to huge proportion to the national budget. Stringent regulations have been made in some countries. He suggested CSE can help the African countries lobby in AFD. 

Mwai informed that age limits are applicable in Kenya since 2000 and that countries which are exporting the used vehicles are not meeting the standards. Its right time to move from age limit to emission standards. 

Meseret Abdissa, Senior Air Pollution Monitoring and Control Expert, MEFCC, Ethiopia added that air pollution is a big concern, a global issue in terms of pollution from old cars. He asked if it was possible to have standards to export these vehicles in terms of social, environmental etc and also talk with developed countries. He pointed out tha awareness is an important issue. 

Samson Cuamba from Ministry of Environment, Mozambique suggested that it is important to invite the exporting countries as well as the African countries know their problem but the counterparts from those companies should be present for a dialogue. 

CSE said that Nepal and Bhutan in South Asia had huge crisis as they were importing used vehicle from India. There are porous borders still but Nepal and Bhutan said health of their people matters to them, which is very important. 

It was decided that firstly CSE will finalise the draft vehicle import report, put it up and circulate it with the participating officials from the African and South Asia region. Shorter version of the report will be helpful which everyone can use for policy discussions in their countries essentially looking at some of the best practices that are emerging and the best policy to go. From CSE’s evaluation of this issue and from the consultation deliberations and emission standards, clear directions should be chalked out and given on the best policy to be followed and taken forward. Secondly all participating country officials are requested to get back to CSE and suggest forums at the country and regional level (like ECOWAS etc) where this report should be disseminated and needs to be sent and deliberated. It is also important to get the international discussion on this issue going on and work needs to be done in this regard. 

CSE made it very clear that health is the biggest issue and is of utmost concern. If a Euro VI car enters a country with Euro III fuel, nobody knows what happens as there is no data, particularly no health data on this. There is a need to look at the smarter ways of getting health and emissions data. The global discourse will be easy to deal with this. There should be more information on health impacts and name and shame. The change will happen gradually, there won’t be revolution. The consultation concluded with CSE remarks, please understand when air pollution comes it comes with such scale and ferocity you won’t know. The scale of the public emergency will be huge. Therefore there is a need to be strategic and smart and need to move fast.


For more information, kindly contact:

Priyanka Chandola 
Programme Manager
Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility Programme
Centre for Science and Environment
Tel: +91 - 11 - 29955124
       +91 - 9810414938 (Mobile)
Fax: +91 - 11 - 29955879





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