DISAPPOINTED when the used car dealerships were not included in government’s first of the six-phase opening, the Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA) held out hope to be included in the second phase.
Association president Visham Babwah said, for the last who weeks, having observed the decrease in new covid19 infections, he would have instructed members to prepare for the imminent reopening by adhering to all the protocols and guidelines set out by health officials.
The second phase was set for Sunday, but because of the performance of the country, it was brought up to last Thursday.
Babwah said the second phase, which excluded his members once again, has left them wondering what risk they posed that the other sectors which had been given the green light to operate did not.
On Thursday, the construction and manufacturing sectors opened up after six weeks, and so too, the maintenance arm of the automotive industry such as garages and mechanic shops.
Babwah questioned why his sector was being overlooked when it would accommodate less people at one time than a fast food outlet.
In a proposal submitted to the Prime Minister-chaired Road Map to Recovery Team for consideration in a post-covid19 economy, the TTADA said all dealerships and used-car outlets were willing to operate up to 50 per cent employment, subject to a maximum of one employee or customer per every nine square metres.
He said small businesses would operate with a maximum of five employees and dependent on the square footage, between two to five customers under strict hygiene and physical-distancing conditions.
Babwah said there were 500 registered used-car dealers, all of which employ internal staff and make use of a variety of some 3,000 external contractors to provide services.
“The multiplier effect here is very evident in the small and micro businesses in the surrounding communities.”
He said, prior to covid19, with problems to access forex and limitations placed on the age and quota limitations of vehicles to be imported, some dealers were already experiencing difficulties.
Babwah said, post covid19, about 25 per cent of the small dealers would be going out of business.
“These types of businesses have turned unemployable citizens into wage earners. It is an absolute necessity to support and create a conducive environment to allow these businesses to grow.
“If government really cared about the SME’s they would have given us permission to open. That is all we want for them to left the restrictions and let us open our doors.
“We don’t want any government handouts we just want to be able to operate our businesses just like the construction sector, just like the manufacturing sector, just like the fast food sector.”