In his tweet last week, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry replied a follower who questioned him about the “deteriorating quality standards” in the Pakistani automotive sector, saying that,
The standards for vehicles made in Pakistan have been set. The initial standards will be submitted to the cabinet for approval within a month. I believe that it was a very difficult task. There were many obstacles placed in my way, but I will do what I set out to do.
Seemingly, the automakers are not on the same page, as they have expressed their concerns about the minister’s “hollow claims” pertaining to the formulation of national standards for locally produced vehicles. Reports suggest that the automotive manufacturers have called these standards “a mere list of international regulations, without facilities and implementing mechanism.”
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Industries, Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) has expressed their dismay against Fawad Chaudhry’s tweets, as they gave off a notion that PAMA had opposed the changes. A statement in the letter reportedly went like this:
A tweet is yet again out from Minister Fawad that despite opposition, automobile standards have been formulated and shall be placed before the cabinet soon. Being the concerned party in the matter, we are aghast at the embarrassing notoriety that has been brought to the subject matter by discussing the same in the media, so often, portraying a victory against a so-called opposition. And the irony is, what is being avowed is contrary to the facts.
PAMA stated that the automakers have, instead, been actively requesting the government to enforce the international standards that are already a part of the prevailing auto policy. Instead, PAMA went on to place the blame on the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), stating that, ” Besides PSQCA, the top government institution authorized to dispense and administer the standards, is in a dilapidated state in terms of infrastructure and manpower.”
PAMA stated, referring to the PSQCA draft standards, that the regulations are already listed in the Engineering Development Board’s (EDB) proposed regulations. PAMA further said that the PSQCA itself is not equipped to ensure international standards, which is why, the government should firstly focus on developing a formula to enforce the abidance of international regulations for all parties involved, including the PSQCA.
The government and PAMA have locked horns on countless occasions in the past few months owing to various reasons, and their relationship seems to sour more with each passing day. If the government wishes to see their enthusiastic plans regarding through, the two parties must develop an understanding on some level and soon.