Ufisadi Bandarini



Dear Customers,

Good day to all of you.

This is Masao Kuwabara of Autorec Tanzania Limited and Yuichi Mizuno of Autorec Enterprise LTD. Japan.

Thanks to you, we have been operating business in Tanzania with lots of joy.

But there have been one serious problem that all the exporters, not only

Autorec, who do business with Tanzania are facing. We have been making

lots of effort to solve the problem, but it still remains in Tanzania.

Today, I'd like to figure out what is happening in Tanzania against used

vehicle trade. And we'll appreciate a lot if you'll give us your advices

on this issue.

As all of you are aware, IMPORT REGULATION against used vehicles have

been started in Tanzania since July 2006. Now if one will import used

vehicles whose age is exceeding 10 years, they will be penalised and

charged extra 20% excise duty.

This kind of regulation is found with several more countries. And as a

trader who do business with Tanzania, we respect the country's policy.

We shall not go against it or complain about it.

Therefore, since this policy started, we have been trying to adjust our

stock so that they will meet the demand of customers in Tanzania. Now

you may find many 1999+ vehicles in our stock.

But there's a serious problem with this policy as it has been operated

without clear definition about the AGE OF THE VEHICLES.

Let us share one sample story here.

1) Unreasonable penalties against some importers in Tanzania

Some time ago, one of the customer has bought JZX100 MARK II 1999model.

As this is of year 1999, definitely, the customer didin't have to be


However, once the vehicle reached Dar es salaam port, the officers of

Tanzania's Customs have inspected the vehicle phisically, and finally

started saying that this vehicle is manufactured in 1995! They said so

because they found a small label on the vehicle's seatbelt saying "1995".

While the vehicle had come with the EXPORT CERTIFICATE issued and

authorised by Govenment of Japan and another certificate issued by JAAI

(Japan Automobile Appraisal Institute), both clearly indicates its year

as 1999, Customs office still insist that this vehicle is of 1995 and

thus should be penalised.

2) Manufactured year of seatbelt is not manufactured year of the vehicle

Actually, I have done some research about the label on the seatbelt

while I was still in Japan. I have communicated with TOKAI RIKA company,

who is the manufacturer / supplier of the seatbelts for TOYOTA's

products. They told me that the information on the label of the seatbelt

simply shows the manufactured year of the seatbelt itself!

In heavy industries such as vehicle manufacture, the products are

manufactured by cooperation of several companies so that they can reduce

the time and cost.

If it is about this MARK II, there should be seatbelt manufacturer,

window screen manufacturer, computer manufacturer, tyre manufacturer,

electric parts manufacturer, head lamp manufactuer, gasket manufacturer,

tube manufacturer, bolt & nut manufactuer and so on and so forth.

Each manufactured parts will be brought to the warehouse or the factory

of vehicle manufacturers (such as TOYOTA) and then a unit of vehicle

will be assembled there. It is very much possible for some parts to

spend several months or even more than a year before it will be

assembled to a vehicle.



Especially, with this JZX100 MARK II, it is totally wrong for them to

insist that this was manufactured in 1995. There's a clear reason to

deny their statement.



3) Definition of the vehicles�f �gage�h in Japan

Unfortunately, we learnt that there are some misunderstandings among the

Customs officers at the port about definition about the age of the

vehicles. Once they find the labels on the belts like this, they just

disregard the authorized documents and try to charge additional duty

against importers. And this is totally wrong.

Most of the vehicles we sell originate in Japan. Therefore, we process

the paper work and other arrangements based on the documents published

by the Government of Japan, Government of MANUFACTURERS' COUNTRY.

On this official document called �gExport Certificate�h, it only shows the

YEAR OF FIRST REGISTRATION of the vehicles. There�fs no information about

MANUFACTURED YEAR. This is how they control the product in Japan.

Information of manufactured year of the vehicles are not obtainable.

Both for domestic and oversea market, the used / new vehicles suppliers

do the paper work by using the data on this document because there are

no other official documents to identify the vehicles.

But to the Customs in Tanzania, it looks like this document is not


The differences on the definition of the AGE OF THE VEHICLES between

Tanzania and Japan is creating serious problems.

4) Autorec's efforts to solve this problem

One day, I have seen Commissioner for Customs and Excise face to face in

his office and discussed about this problem.

Unfortunately, there was no good solution on that day. Commissioner told

me that this is just a minor problem as these are only a few cases among

lots of cars. Instead, he promised me that he�fs going to solve these one

by one by communicating with the manufacturers in Japan to know the

actual manufactured year once the same case comes out.

Believing his word, when we had another problem with NISSAN MARCH,

chassis number k11-683281, I asked for his assistance. I was thinking

that he has a special relationship with the manufactures in Japan and he

can get such information that we can not get from them. However, instead

of contacting NISSAN MOTORS in Japan, he contacted D.T.Dobbie (NISSAN�fs

distributor in Tanzania). Once D.T.Dobie told him that they don�ft deal

in used cars, it was the end of his investigation.

We, Autorec, has contacted NISSAN MOTORS by ourselves, explained the

situation, and finally got a letter from NISSAN to identify the

manufactured year of this unit as an exceptional case (they normally

don't publish such information).

We brought this letter to the Commissioner and we believed that this

will be solved. But I was surprised to know the Commissioner's next

action. Once again, he sent this letter from NISSAN to D.T.Dobbie, and

once again, D.T.Dobbie told him that they don't deal with used cars, and

once again, it was the end of his investigation!

Why should he communicate with D.T.Dobbie while we brought him the

letter from original manufacturer? This is very much not understandable.

The case remained unsolved.

On another day, I received a letter from the Commissioner as a reply to

my letters. In that message, he was saying that now he understood that

the year on the seatbelt label is not the year of manufactured year of

the vehicle.

But still then, the people of the Customs are still judging the age of

the vehicle by checking the seatbelts and other small parts.

We have been fighting against this misunderstanding. We have been

sending letters to Commisioner of Customs and Excise again and again. We

send CC to TBS, TRA, Ministry of Finance, JAAI, Embassy of Tanzania in

Japan and Embassy of Japan in Tanzania. We have been appealing that the

importers in Tanzania should not be charged unfair duties from such a


Unfortunately, the Commissioner of Customs is not even replying to our

letters these days. Then we have also sent simillar letter to Parmanent

Secretary of Ministry of Finance. We also got diplomatic support from

Embassy of Japan in Tanzania, Japanese Ambassador has sent an official

letter to Ministry of Finance.

We are hearing that in August 2007, by sending letter to the

Commissioner for Customs and Excise, Ministry of Finance has advised

them to reconsider the definition of the age of the vehicle. But we

haven't seen any changes even after that.

We have been explaing all about this to the people mentioned above and

asking them to reconsider the definition of the age of the vehicle.

In January 2008, I have spoken to the people of Embassy of Japan once

again and asked for some diplomatic assistance because I was feeling

that the authority in this country is not interested to listen to the

voice of one small vehicle supplier.

This time, the First Secretary of Embassy of Japan has met Commissioner

for Customs and Excise by himself and discussed on the same issue.

According to the story I heard from the Secretary, the Commissioner has

understood the situation and promissed that he will work on this to

solve the problem.

Embassy of Japan has wrote an official letter once again to appeal that

the vehicles' age should be defined based on the official documents

because there's nothing else apart from that.

5) Problem for Autorec, the supplier

The issue itself is something between the importers and the Customs in

Tanzania. Therefore, the authority treat us as if we are just outsiders.

It seems as if they are saying that it is not something that a supplier

like Autorec should interrupt. But the situation doesn�ft allow us to sit


We explain the nature of these problems to the importers (our customers)

who actually suffered this problem and advice them to insist against the

Customs that they have the proper vehicle and official documents. But

instead of fighting against misunderstandings of Customs authority, some

of them actually turn around and start attacking Autorec, saying that

Autorec has sent fake documents / cars and cheated them! Some of them

even threaten us that they are going to take it a court case or attack

us through media.

This is totally not acceptable because Autorec has done nothing wrong in

the procedures.

Something more unpleasant for us is the fact that some of the Customs

officers, when they found the seatbelt label which has different

information with the official document, tell the importers that the

supplier (Autorec) has tricked them with forged documents!!! We totally

don't understand why people on a responsible position can say such a

irresponsible word without doing researches!!!! This is like exeucting

someone for guilty without properly checking!!! This is a clear

offensive disturbance to our business.

Or they are making us a scapegoat so that the importers will not

complain against them.

And as you can see, this is not a problem only for Autorec, but for the

used vehicle trade business as a whole.

Indeed, this is actually creating a very negative image not only to our

business but for the customers in Tanzania who intend to import used

vehicles from Japan. While we are shipping the right vehicles in right

procedure with proper documents (authorized by the Government of

manufacturer�fs country), some importers misjudge that we are cheating

them. This would be a serious damage to us if they continue doing this.

I understand the anger and disappointment of the importers who are

charged of the penalty of 20% against a vehicle they bought as less

10-year-old cars. But even if they attack us, there�fs no solution

because there was nothing wrong on our side.

Therefore, we need a fundamental solution.

6) Similar problem and its solution in Kenya

In Kenya, several years ago, they had the same problem as they also have

year regulation against used vehicle import.

Actually, the problem was more serious in Kenya, because once the

vehicle would be recognised as over 8-year-old, they are simply not

allowed to import that car. Therefore, the importers in Kenya had fought

against the authority by themselves. Of course, we, the suppliers, also

assisted them.

As a result, Kenya�fs Ministries, KRA(Kenya Revenue Authority) and

KBS(Kenya Bereau of Standard) have worked together to solve this

problem, and finally decided to judge the year of the cars based on the

information on the documents. Since then, there has been no such trouble

on the same issue in Kenya.

This story gives an idea that there's no solution so long as they

continue checking the seatbelts and other parts.

....Thank you very much indeed for reading such a long story. But I'm

sure this is a serious problem that any of you may also suffer.

We have been fighting against this, but as this is an internal problem

in this country, something that a foreigner can do is limited. As an

outsider, we cannot intervene the country's policy.

Not having good fruit after such a lot of effort, we are feeling as if

we are stucked.

Therefore, now we'll appreciate if you'll give us your ideas and view to

solve this problem.

Once again, thank you very much indeed for your understanding and

assistance to us.


Best regards,

Masao Kuwabara

Autorec Tanzania Limited

E-mail : masao@autorectz.com

Address : Room 425, 4th floor, Harbour View Towers, Samora Ave.,

P.O.Box 5023, Dar es salaam, Tanzania

Phone : +255-22-2124101

Fax : +255-22-2124103

Cell : +255-753-193583
hii ni habari nyingine au ni ile ile ila tu inapewa headings tofauti huku mtumaji akibadili utambulisho????
inaporudiwarudiwa inakosamvuto,uhalisia,ukweli n.k na hata wahusika wanaweza wasijerekebishe(kama kuna ukweli maana inatia shaka)kwani inaonyesha ni jinsi gani mtumaji wa ujumbe asivyojiamini!!!!!!
Mbona unajichanganya habari maoja mnaitoa mara mbili?Pamoja na hayo,malalamiko yako ungeyapeleka kwa TRA na sio Bandari,hapo umechemsha.Be specific to what you want say.
Natumaini hiki kilio TRA wamekipata na inabidi wachukue hatua haraka jambo inauma kufunga hako kamrija uchwara walikokategea.

Kwa wanaokandia hii habari watakuwa wanafaidika kwa namna moja au nyingine katika hizo mbinu chafu za kunyanyasa walipa kodi. Au hayajawakuta hivyo hawafahamu machungu yake.

Inachoshangaza ni kwa nini wakipewa chochote wanakuwa wepesi kuondoa query.

Tuendelee kujalidili kwani hata bandari wanahusika, ni syndicate moja hiyo.Watumishi wao ndiyo kazi yao kuchungulia hivyo vi-label na kupeleka habari long room.
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