Forum – Abolition of Horse Power Tax Proposed

It has been reported that certain interested persons would have deliberately under-declared the horsepower capacity of their vehicles.

The registers of the NTA for engine capacities of vehicles, namely motor cars and DPs, have thus been distorted by those persons in order to pay less tax on the concerned vehicles. There is a feeling this fraudulent distortion of horse power capacities has to be seen in the light of irrational, discriminatory and cruel impositions of road and registration taxes on vehicles by successive governments in the past.

By now, it appears decisions have been taken on how to stop the malpractices and straighten up past malpractices. Records of over 5 000 vehicles have already been made to correspond with their exact respective engine specifications at Plaine Lauzun Fitness Centre, but at the same time, an opportunity has presented itself to re-consider undue and unjust charges relating to engine capacities.

On this subject I am referring to two/three points on which governments have erred:

Point A:

There have been failures to understand and distinguish that in two cars of the same make, model, size and seating capacity (if one is equipped with a gasoline engine and the other with a diesel engine) the tariffs levied for the diesel powered-car did not have to be excessively higher than on the gasoline engine because mechanically the motive power equivalence for the diesel car to be somewhat the same as that of the gasoline, the diesel cylinder must be at least 65% larger than the gasoline one.

In terms of figures below the motive equivalences for the gasoline engines below 1600 cc (Lines A and B in the table) must fall in the range of 1800cc to 2500cc for the diesel (Lines C – E) and by simple reasoning the tax fees for the diesel engines must be on the same lines as the gasoline engines, a fact which must be noted for correction.

Obviously, there are gasoline engines of 1850cc to 3000cc for a few cars in our country, but there should be no confusion between the gasolines and the diesels.

Motor Vehicle Tariffs (Extracts) Rupees

3 months

1 year

A

1250 cc and below

1100

3500

B

1251 cc – 1600cc

1200

4000

C

1601cc – 1850cc

2600

8500

D

1851 cc – 2250cc

3200

10,500

E

Above 2250cc

4000

13,000

F

Taxi

300

900

G

Bus

1000

3,000

Point B:

Columns in A to G indicate tariffs for quarterly and yearly terms. We notice that the annual charge for an above 2250cc is Rs 13,000 while for a 1251cc, it is only Rs4,000. Understanding that a 2500cc is about double that of 1251cc, by sound judgement the 2500cc rate had just to be twice that of 1250cc, that is, Rs 8000 annually. It is difficult to understand for what reason its charge exceeds three times that of the other?

Point B2:

It appears that those who cannot pay the annual charge outright, the 3 months facility is provided for their relief. But in this situation also, there appears to be a trick to make the diesel owners suffer more:

There is an extra service charge for payments by terms. If for the gasoline 1251cc, the extra is Rs 200, for a diesel 2251 cc it is Rs 750. So in one year by quarterly payments for the diesel the extra becomes (750×4) which, when added to the annual normal, comes to Rs16,000 (the value of four cars), a sum which is obviously atrociously high for a diesel car/van.

Point C:

Contrary to points A and B, we find two ridiculous charges:

(i) The tariff for a bus is Rs 3,000 p.a. which can be perceived as profit made by a bus in ONE DAY alone.

(ii) The tariff for a taxi is just Rs 900 p.a., an amount which can be gained by a two-hour trip any time. But as the taxi driver can also utilize his taxi as a private motor-car for himself and for his family, his taxi tariff had to be 900 + the appropriate private car tariff as mentioned in the table, isn’t it?

It therefore becomes urgent to review the road tariff levies to be fair to all vehicle owners. Harsh rates based on Horse Power for some categories of vehicles were conceived early in the nineteen nineties and were then felt to be excessive by some. Now the entire system with over 30 tariffs must be withdrawn. The following are being proposed to replace them.

1. Declaration Fees

All motor vehicles to be on the roads must be declared annually and obtain the Motor Vehicle Licence usually displayed on the front windscreen. The fees to be paid will be known as DECLARATION FEES or DECLARATION as commonly called. There will be no quarterly and half-yearly schemes. Cylinder volumes will not be reckoned. The number of tariffs will be limited to simply FIVE, viz:

1. Rs 2,000 – all motor cars including taxis and contracts

2. Rs 2,500 – DPs, 2×4, 4×4, Passenger Vans, lorries less than 3 tons, mini buses below 15 seats, hybrid cars and vehicles benefitting concessions.

3. Rs 3,000 – Buses as well as Contract buses over 15 seats, lorries above 3 tons and tractors.

4. Rs 3,500 – Lorries over 10 tons and electric cars.

5. Rs 500 – motor cycles.

2. Road Tax

Taking into account that vehicle licence is an item of revenue estimate for government, the shortfall caused by the above scheme will be compensated by imposing one rupee on every litre of gasoline and R1.25 on diesel over and above the existing impositions. These levies will be called Road Tax to mean the tax on road distance travelled by the fuel. So the more vehicles are run and the higher big engines consume the more will have to be paid. Those who run less or once in a while will be relieved.

The 1 and 2 replacements above will eliminate the discriminations prevailing in the present system.

This proposed review can be implemented immediately with slight amendments if necessary. The next budget is the appropriate moment to announce the decision.

J. Sookdeb

* * *

The Holy Month of Ramadan

The Holy Month of Ramadan has once again graced our life with its presence; a whole month has been bestowed by Allah (God Almighty) to the Muslims so that they may acquire His pleasure and accede to His nearness.

The Sacred Month of Ramadan is such a month which gives the Muslim believers the opportunity to live their Islam, i.e. Submission to Allah to the fullest. And as such obedience to Allah is the key to open the door of His Mercy.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should (obediently) answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (2: 187)

The above-mentioned verse is clear on the fact that God Almighty seeks submission from His servants. He wants that His servants, whom He has lovingly placed on earth, call upon Him and respond to His call also. He is such a Being who extremely cares for His creatures. The whole creation is in awe before Him. Man, compared to the rest of creation, is the most intelligent creature and has received the greatest of divine favours in the ability to work towards earning a higher status in the spiritual realm.

The measure of a man’s love for Allah is his unquestioned obedience to the divine commandments. When for a whole month a Muslim believer obeys Allah, without any complaint and regret, and when he spends his time in prayers, and all other acts of worship in humility, it is thus to this kind of person whom the Creator turns and say: “It is now for you to ask for Me to give.” Such a person accomplishes his duty to God Almighty and in return Allah favours him and helps him to accede to His nearness, with love and humility; for bear in mind, if the good upkeep of the human body is vital for its survival on this temporal world, the good care of the human soul is doubly vital for its eternal survival in the yet invisible world (Ghayb), the paradise promised by God the Almighty to those among His servants who keep true to their promises and remain attached to Him and His commandments even after their advent on earth. They are those who remember their duty to Him and do not let the attractions of this world drift them away from the true reality of God and their duty to Him.

The month of Ramadan therefore comes to remind man of that sacred duty he has towards Allah, and Allah has decreed therein more than a thousand months’ blessings in one of its blessed night, called the Laila-tul-Qadr (Night of Decree) found in the ten last nights.

Many reports on the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have situated that night to be on either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or even the 29th night of Ramadan. For the true believer who carves his life according to the instructions of Allah, for him there can be many such sacred nights which awake his consciousness and make him enjoy the endless blessings of Allah, and thus obedience to Allah grants him such a freedom which even birds with wings don’t have and cannot even fathom. His soul connects with Allah and remains in the obedience of Allah.

Oh Muslims, make these days and nights of this Holy Month of Ramadan become a lifetime of blessings for you and put into practice the commandments of the Almighty in the right way so that God Almighty may put you in the right way and let you tread upon it till you reach Him devoid of any blemish.

Ramadan Mubarak.

Imam Muhyiuddin Munir A. Azim

Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam

Tags: Imam Muhyiuddin Munir A. Azim Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Ramadan Mubarak

* Published in print edition on 1 July 2016

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