Egypt's interim government decided on Wednesday to impose a one-year imports' ban on motorcycles and the three-wheeled unlicensed taxi known as tuk-tuks, along with their manufacturing components, Al-Ahram's news website has reported.
The government also imposed strict measures on the purchasing or licensing of any new motorcycle and gave owners of both motorcycles and tuk-tuks a two-week deadline to adjust their licenses in accordance with the new decision.
Earlier in January, the country's State Commissioners Authority (SCA) issued a non-binding decision to courts to halt the import of tuk-tuks, claiming that the auto rickshaws' small size allowed them to be used widely in committing crimes and thus posed a serious security threat in several areas nationwide, particularly slums.
In response to the SCA's decision, Raghda El-Azab, head of the public relations department at GB Autos, the sole assembler of tuk-tuks in Egypt, said that her company's management was "a strong believer in the importance of three-wheelers in Egypt, particularly in slum areas where they are the most important mode of transport.”
El-Azab also argued that because tuk-tuks created informal jobs, banning them would put many out of work and cause the crime rate to go up.
Despite tuk-tuks remaining unlicensed, in 2012 the government decided to count tuk-tuks as taxis and tax them accordingly, requiring GB Auto to pay 15 percent sales tax each time it built one of the mini-sized vehicles.
"Legally, state authorities should deal with three-wheeler vehicles as motorbikes, not cars," El-Azab said.
According to the Cairo-based investment bank Beltone Financial, two- and three-wheelers represent 12.2 percent of GB Auto’s nine-month revenue in 2013 and 13.9 percent of 2012 revenue.