Despite several rumors and internal leaks by government officials that the auto policy is complete and about to be revealed, the government has failed to announce it. The pending status of the policy has caused great concern amongst related parties and stakeholders. They want the government to announce a solid set of regulations for the automotive industry.
The policy has been finalised and will be announced soon, according to the Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Ghulam Mirza Jatoi, which he confirmed in December last year. He said the policy was being fine-tuned and that’s what caused the delay.
The auto policy has been pending for more than three years now, with the government missing deadlines. The policy has become a victim of some serious lobbying and politics caused by existing and potential automakers wanting the policy to be in their favor. Current manufacturers want to maintain their monopolistic foothold in the market while potential automakers and local consumers demand for the policy to be in favour of the newcomers in the automotive industry.
The latest local body to push the government into releasing the new automotive policy is the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). RCCI’s President Mian Humayun Pervez has urged the government to bypass the delays and release the policy as soon as possible. He said that the auto sales have been very good in recent times, but he argued that the lack of a policy isn’t good for the current manufacturers as well.
Mian Pervez wants the new policy to give a clear signal to not only existing car manufacturers and retailers to increase their investment in Pakistan, but to encourage new foreign investments as well. He continued on and said that a new policy will ensure the betterment of the SME sector, which is directly linked to the auto sector.
RCCI President stated that many countries around the world, including Japan, China, Korea, India, Brazil and many more have used the automotive industry as a launching pad for promoting industry, foreign investment, economic growth and increasing job opportunities.
On the other hand, existing automakers have condemned the imports of cars particularly from Japan. Car imports have also been on a high in recent times and car assemblers are of the view that this has hurt their sales. They want strict rules and taxes on car imports. Consumers, however, are disappointed at the lower quality and outdated models being offered by local car assemblers, which has led to increased imports.
Whatever the case, it is seems clear that a middle ground has to be reached to keep both parties happy with the new auto policy. However, the government should look out for the consumers’ and citizens’ interest as this is what it is bound to represent.