During the last week of August, the Senate passed legislation to support the transformation of the state’s defense enterprise, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), into a corporate entity.
The legislation – the Heavy Industries Taxila Board (Amendment) Bill 2019 – will result in HIT expanding its commercial activities. It will be made a limited company and will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence Production said in a report that the move to corporatize HIT will enable the enterprise to more easily enter joint ventures (JVs) with national and foreign firms.
The bill was approved earlier this year by Pakistan’s National Assembly and was referred to the Senate for consideration in May.
The move is in line with Pakistan’s efforts to spur capability developments in its national defense industry according to Jane’s 360.
The Senate passed the Heavy Industries Taxila Board (Amendment) Bill 2019 this Thursday. The legislation has already been adopted early this year by the National Assembly. Senate Standing Committee on Defense Production Chairman Senator Lt-Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum tabled a related report in the House on August 29.
Federal Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal moved the bill for adoption.
HIT will now be able to enter into joint ventures with national and international partners for indigenous manufacturing of commercial products such as automobiles, tanks, prime movers, and railway wagons. This will result in more revenue, investments, and technologies which would benefit HIT’s defense production activities.
However, the committee said that surplus commercial potential of all defense production establishments should be utilized and enhanced to earn sufficient revenue for supporting the defense production industry.
According to the committee, other objectives for corporatizing HIT include enabling the enterprise to earn revenues to fund Pakistan’s defense budget; support national efforts to “move incrementally towards self-sustenance” in the defense sector; support private-sector defence industrial expansion in Pakistan; and “help bring in the latest technologies” into the country to benefit defense.
Being a national asset, it has saved billions of dollars over the years through indigenization of defense hardware.
HIT is one of Pakistan’s most important defense enterprises. The organization specializes in upgrades and manufacturing a range of military vehicles including main battle tanks (MBTs), armored personnel carriers, and artillery, as well as military vehicle engines and related components and associated equipment.