More time to be given to Bestlin Group to deliver 489 NGV buses to BMTA

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will give more time for Bestlin Group to secure financing to pay for the import taxes and fines for Chinese-made 489 NGV buses to be delivered to the city bus operator.

BMTA director Surachai Iamwachirakul said Monday that it was doubtless that the company which won the auction to supply the city bus operators with 489 NGV buses could not deliver the bus fleet within the December 29 deadline because the company could not secure the fund needed to pay the Customs Department for the import taxes and fines imposed on the company for declaring the false origin of the buses.

The buses were supposed to be assembled in Malaysia with 40 percent local contents which would have enabled Bestlin to be eligible to tax free under the Asean free trade zone. As it turned out, the bus fleet was shipped from China in fully-assembled form and re-routed to Malaysia supposedly to be assembled which never actually took place. The buses were shipped to Laem Chabang deep-sea port.

Customs Department have impounded the bus fleet at the port pending payment of import taxes and fines.

In case the buses could not be delivered within December 29 deadline which is only three days away, Mr Surachai said Beslin Group would be fined by the BMTA 17,000 baht a day for each bus for the delay.

He indicated that the city bus operator had a Plan B in store in case delivery could not be made and the contract was to be scrapped, but he declined to elaborate.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)