Motorcycle owners face travel and fuel restrictions

Jul 7, 2008 (DVB), An official from the Burmese government’s Road Transport Administration Department said all unlicensed motorbikes across the country will be required to register between 1 July and the end of October.

All illegal motorbike owners who fail to register their vehicles within the four months will face legal sanctions, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Registered motorbike owners will not be allowed to buy fuel from the government as car owners can, and the vehicles will not be allowed to travel outside the division or the state where they are registered, according to the official.

An official from the Customs Department said there were currently over 500,000 unregistered motorbikes in Burma and the registration fee for each will be between 75,000 and 450,000 kyat, depending on type of motorbikes.

He said the motorcycle registrations can now be processed within one day under a joint procedure by the Road Transport Administration Department, Custom Department, Myanmar Insurance Policy and the Myanmar Economic Bank.

An economist told DVB that the restrictions on motorbike owners could exacerbate the problems of high fuel prices.

"It’s a good thing the registrations are now being issued for the motorbikes," he said.

"But since they are not allowed to buy fuel from the government fuel shops, there is a chance they will provoke a bigger fuel crisis in the country."

Motorcycle dealers based in Burmese border towns have said there is currently an increased demand for motorcycles.

"There is a lot of demand from buyers for motorbikes now, but not a lot of people are selling," said one dealer from Tachilek.

"Honda Dream and Wave motorbike, 2007/8 models, are the most in demand."

A dealer in Myawaddy said that the prices of motorcycles had gone up, and additional charges were being levied on buyers by the government.

"Now a 125cc motorbike is priced at 750,000 kyat with about an extra 300,000 kyat for the licence fee and contribution to a fund for Cyclone Nargis victims," he said.

"Types of motorbikes that used to cost 42,000 baht are now priced at over 50,000 baht."

Reporting by Moe Aye and Htet Yazar

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