Auto production in jeopardy after Islamabad blaze

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ISLAMABAD: A view of the wreckage at the EDB office after a fire at Awami Markaz. According to Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers, the board is retrieving the lost data.

KARACHI: Stakeholders in the auto sector said on Saturday the fire that gutted the Engineering Development Board (EDB) office in Islamabad on Sept 10 may hamper auto production.

Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama) Director General Abdul Waheed Khan said the deadline for the uploading of data for the importable auto parts in the system – normally referred to as quota – is Sept 30. There will be a complete industrial closure in the country if data is not uploaded by then, he added.

The current ‘provisional’ quota for some models is not sufficient, he said, adding that it needs to be increased immediately to facilitate imports in a timely manner. Similarly, all manufacturing certificates, issued by the EDB, will also expire on Sept 30. These certificates need revalidation before Sept 30, he said.

Also, approval for new products pending with the EDB must be expedited to avoid unnecessary delays, he said.

The EDB, which operates under the Ministry of Industries and Production, is bogged down in handling the post-fire situation. “The government should issue an interim order whereby all manufacturing certificates and quotas expiring on Sept 30 are extended to Dec 31,” he added.

Already allocated quotas are not sufficient because all players in the automobile sector are growing. Thus, the quarterly quota should be increased to include the remaining 75 per cent meant for the year, subject to the verification of actual production, he said. Similarly, held-up approval for new products should be readily granted to minimise losses to the economy, he added.

Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (Paapam) Chairman Mashood Ali Khan said he visited the burned-down EDB office a few days back and also met ministry officials. He said the EDB team is currently working out of a makeshift office in the basement of the Planning Commission, which is a small place with limited resources.

The chairman said the EDB team is committed to retrieving data and getting the office back in order as early as possible. The EDB has assured Paapam that the Input Output Ratio Certificate quota will be uploaded by Sept 30.

He said he has already requested members of the association to start compiling their previous correspondence with the EDB.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2017

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