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Industries Ministry and EDB officials alleged for pocketing billions from local car makers

Aftab Ahmed
Islamabad: Parliamentarians have hurled accusations by saying that officials of Engineering Development Board (EDB)—a watchdog over the mighty and Japanese cartels of autos—are not only on the pay roll of Auto Makers but also they are greasing the palm of the officials at the Ministry of Industry & Production.

Ali Gohar Khan, a member of National Assembly standing committee on Industries and Production, in support of his accusations against the car assemblers in Pakistan said, “the officials at the ministry of Industry and EDB are hands in gloves with Japanese auto monopoly in Pakistan.”

In response to MNA accusation, Additional Secretary at MoIP, Sher Alam Mahsud refuted the charges by saying that although he heard about the briefcases from the Automakers but never saw them with my own eyes.  Additional Secretary went on to say that car assemblers are also not clean and suggested that a special meeting be convened on auto sector in which EDB gives a presentation.

Ali Gohar Khan said that Pakistani car assemblers’ do not fulfill international standards, adding that there is massive difference in interiors of five years used cars and newly assembled Pakistani cars. At the same time, Auto assemblers are earning billions of rupee profits per annum as they are increasing car prices by linking it with American dollars.

“The officials of Industries Ministry/ EDB are swallowing billions of rupees since years. If the officials of the Ministry present and past and Ministers including ex-Ministers and politicians were honest, the situations we are facing today would have been different and a mechanism would have been put in place and things would have improved,” he continued.  Ali Gohar said he would also raise this issue on the floor of the National Assembly and would not hesitate to court to improve the standards of locally assembled cars.

CEO EDB said that the main role of EDB was to envisage investment in the auto sector under ADP Policy 2016-21. As far as the standards are concerned, other bodies likes PSQCA deal with such matters.  EDB in its written reply on the issue of use of air bags and Anti Lock Breaking System (ABC) in automobile vehicles said the organisation does not have the mandate to regulate/ monitor vehicle quality, standards, road worthiness and pricing etc.

However, under the ADP 2016-21, EDB is processing Pakistan’s case of becoming a member of Working Party (WP)-29. Summary for adoption of ADP-29 is approved from Cabinet and accession document has been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for submission to UN Secretariat WP-29. The regulation will ensure compliance by local manufacturers of certain regulations under WP-29 forum.

According to the EDB, reportedly, car manufacturers follow the manufacturing standards of their principals. The engines of care are mostly Euro-II compliant as the petrol/ gasoline available in Pakistan is Euro-II standard

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