This research focuses on the use of unregistered cars in Myitkyina, Kachin State. From 2001, the military government artificially supported the domestic car industry. However, this did not last long, and the monopoly on vehicle import licenses led to a boom in the black market. Short supply and high demand meant that the secondhand car market in Myanmar was one of the most expensive in the world.
This paper will explore the situation and the reasons for the increased use of unregistered private cars. Significantly, the import trend started in 2011 with the liberalization of car import procedures. Although the use of private cars in Kachin State has increased enormously, the amount of tax revenue remains stagnant because of an increase in unregistered vehicles . This rise led to the State Parliament agreeing to a proposal in 2016 to offer registration to unregistered car owners, but this could not be implemented because of the limited legislative power at the state level.
A registered car costs five times more than an unregistered one, and at least four unregistered cars are driven to Myitkyina every day. The number of people who bought an unregistered car in 2017 is the highest of any year so far, and the briefly imposed travel restrictions on unregistered vehicles are no longer being implemented.
The unreasonable cost of registering a vehicle is forcing people to choose affordability over the risk that the car could be taken away, but the huge number of illegally imported cars deprive the Union of vital tax revenue.
According to the 2015 Motor Vehicle Law, the term “motor vehicle” refers to a vehicle with wheels using mechanical or electrical power or any other energy to move. Thus, it includes all kinds of vehicles such as motor cycles, motor cars and other vehicles. This research, however, will only focus on cars: using an unregistered car is against the relatively recent Motor Vehicle Law that was passed in 2015.
Naushawng Development Institute (NDI) is an independent, non-profit education and development organization founded on April 9th2009 by Kachin scholars committed to strengthening democracy and community development in northern Myanmar. NDI contributes to democratic transition, peace building and sustainable development in Myanmar through training; education; advocacy; research and policy development analysis, as well as networking.