Government Officials Accused of Taking Billions from Auto Sector

The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) and its attached organization, the Engineering Development Board (EDB), were alleged to have minted billions of rupees from the auto sector and compromising quality standards of locally assembled cars. The accusations were made in a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries and Production, presided over by Sajid Hussain Turi.

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Adviser to Prime Minister on Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood and Industries Secretary Afzal Latif were not present in the meeting. However according to EDB its primary role was to encourage investment in the auto sector under the Auto Industry Development Policy (AIDP) 2016-21 while maintaining quality standards were not their domain as other bodies like Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) is there to deal with such matters.

The EDB, in its written reply on the use of air bags and anti-lock braking system in vehicles, said the organization did not have the mandate to regulate and monitor vehicle quality, standards, road worthiness, pricing, etc. However, under the AIDP, the EDB was processing Pakistan’s case to become a member of the Working Party (WP)-29. The regulation will ensure compliance by the local manufacturers with certain regulations.

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According to the EDB, the car manufacturers were reportedly following manufacturing standards of their principals. The engines of cars are mostly Euro-II compliant as the fuel available in Pakistan is of Euro-II standards.

MNA Ali Gohar Khan said Pakistan’s car assemblers did not meet international standards, adding that there was a massive difference between interiors of imported five-year-old used cars and newly assembled Pakistani cars. He said:

“There are mechanical problems in Honda, which the company is aware of. If a Pakistani invests Rs 3 million to up to Rs 4 million to buy a car, he does not have any other choice due to monopoly of three Japanese car companies.”

He further added that at the same time assemblers are earning billions of rupees in profits per annum. Ali Gohar Khan also pointed out that prices of cars were going up and stressed that at least standards of locally assembled and imported cars should be the same. He further remarked:

“Officials of the industries ministry/EDB have been swallowing billions of rupees for years. Had the officials been honest, the situation we are facing today would have been different and things would have improved.”

Related: Poor Quality Cars in Debate on Mainstream Media

Additional Secretary of Ministry of Industries and Production Captain (Retired) Sher Alam Mahsud refuted the corruption charges by saying:

“I have heard about briefcases but never saw them with own eyes. I do not think anybody is engaged in corruption.”

Full Story: Tribune

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