Minister defends first-time car policy
The highly publicised first-car scheme has not run into trouble even though 2,000 cars had been recalled from the buyers, Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lek-uthai said on Monday.
- Published: 18/03/2013 at 06:00 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Mr Tanusak said the policy, designed by the Pheu Thai Party-led government to give people a chance to own a car, showed no signs of faltering after 2,000 purchasers returned their cars to leasing firms or had them repossessed after the scheme expired last year.
The policy, which offered a large tax rebate, was hugely popular and manufacturers were able to sell 1.2 million vehicles. People buying a car for the first time were given a tax rebate from the Excise Department of up to 100,000 baht, depending on the engine size of the vehicle.
A condition for the buyer was that their vehicle must be kept for five years before it could be sold to another buyer. Anyone who violated the condition would not be eligible for the tax concession.
The Excise Department Monday released figures on the number of buyers who had decided to return their vehicles after joining the scheme.
The deputy minister said the rate of return was not worrying as it represented only a small fraction, while most buyers stayed with the policy and were following the conditions.
But Mr Tanusak said the Finance Ministry will set up a panel comprising officials of the Excise and Comptroller departments to access the scheme. He stressed that the government would not give financial aid to those unable to pay for the car to stay with the programme.
The Comptroller Department is responsible for tax rebate which is transferred to a buyer's bank account and the Excise Department is tasked with recalling tax rebates from those violating the conditions.
Jumpol Rimsakorn, deputy director-general of the Excise Department, told Insight Thailand radio news programme on Monday that there were two groups of people who had returned their cars. The first was those who had failed to meet the qualifications and the second, as the ministry found out later, involved those unable to pay monthly instalments and were forced to return the cars. The problem was controllable, the official added.
Manufacturers have delivered 800,000 out of 1.2 million cars to the first-time buyers and the rest will be ready by the middle of the year.
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