ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has started the process to establish standards for auto parts in the country.
Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry in his tweet has called a meeting with Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), the representative body of all major automobile companies in country to discuss the issue of quality standard of automobiles and their parts.
The meeting, expected to be held on March, 3, will be the first meeting of government and auto industry related to formulating national standard for this sector.
It has taken more than a month for the MoST to reach this stage after receiving guidelines from the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to formulate national standard for auto industry.
Currently there is no official body to inspect and regulate standard of vehicles being produced in the country. Even the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), an attached department of MoST, has not been able to formulate or check the quality standard for vehicles being manufactured in the country.
Interestingly, auto sector stakeholders have expressed doubts that Pakistani standards would be higher than those formulated by Japan, Korea and the European Union.
Recently Sajid Turi, chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries conveyed consumer concerns to auto companies and the government departments. The chairman said was receiving complaints from customers that quality of local cars was much lower than those of imported used cars.
However, officials of local car manufacturers told the committee that the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were following the standards of parent company based in Japan or Korea.
The CCP in its guidelines issued in 2019 had suggested that a national automotive sector standards and safety authority may be created to deal with the safety issues related to vehicles.
The CCP had suggested that to ensure introduction of quality, safety and environmental standards, and to take care of consumer issues in the automobile, the federal and provincial governments should work together to create an independent and empowered national vehicle standards and safety authority.
On the other hand, an auto parts manufacturer Amir Allahwala said that it was essential for Pakistan to establish quality standards in this regard.
“We can even copy the EU standards but there has to be at least one vehicle testing lab in country, either operated by the public sector or through a third party, to certify whether the vehicle or parts are in category of Euro IV or Euro II,” Mr Allahwala said.
He added that the authorities could only ensure the quality standards in the formal sector only. “How will the new rules be implemented at the Kabuli spare parts being sold across the country?” he asked.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020