Engineering Board to spearhead electric vehicle policy

Updated January 17, 2020

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In another development, the EDB chairman held a meeting with the local tractor industry, in response to growing concerns by them.
 — AFP/File
In another development, the EDB chairman held a meeting with the local tractor industry, in response to growing concerns by them. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Industries on Thursday decided to authorise the Engineering Development Board (EDB) as the key department to formulate the electric vehicle (EV) policy and directed it to submit draft proposals in this regard by the next month.

Industries and Production Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood chaired the 30th meeting of Auto Industry Development Committee (AIDC) and discussed local manufacturing of EVs.

Serious apprehensions were expressed by the auto sector that several government functionaries including the Ministry of Science and Technology and the environment agencies were also involved in EV policymaking.

The representatives of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Associ­ation (Pama) and Pakistan Association of Auto Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (Paapam) expressed the query in this regard.

It was decided by Dawood that EV Policy is the domain of MoIP as per the rules of business and thus EDB should be the focal department.

He authorised preparation of policy to EDB and it was directed that the first draft within one month. Various tariff and non-tariff proposals were discussed in the meeting, while stakeholders sought 15-20 days for submission of concrete recommendation on local manufacturing of EVs.

EDB Chairman Raza Abbas asked the auto industry to respect the timeline for submission of proposals to the board so the first draft could be finalised before the end of February.

The meeting noted that investment in the EVs would be under the Auto Development Policy (ADP 2016-21), which would include investment plans, standardisation of equipment, promotion of localisation, exports of parts and components in long run, employment generation and positive impact on national economy.

In another development, the EDB chairman held a meeting with the local tractor industry, in response to growing concerns by them.

However, Dawood stressed that “Make in Pakistan” will be supported in each policy including EV manufacturing, and highlighted the government’s policy to discourage imports to promote creation of job in country.

In a separate meeting with the EDB chairman, the stakeholders of the tractor industry sought a long-term policy and stressed to make the board the single-point of contact to deal with multiple government deparments.

The representatives of Paapam and the tractor manufacturers informed the EDB chief that farmers were extremely price sensitive and rate increases led to a decline of around 40 per cent in sales in July-December FY20.

They attributed the price increase to rupee-dollar parity, as well as imposition of duties and taxes in the last budget.

It was also proposed that agri loans be reduced to a single digit mark-up on tractor financing to farmers, GST on imported parts be reduced from 17pc to 5pc with the stakeholders demanding timely release of sales tax refunds by the FBR to facilitate cash flow.

Abbas, on behalf of the government, assured the industry to resolve their problems and requested Paapam and tractor manufacturers to suggest a line of action that would facilitate the long-term growth of the sector.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020