PAMA (Pakistan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association) has expressed serious concerns over what they call “hollow claims” of Fawad Chaudhry, the Minister of Science and Technology regarding the introduction of the first-ever national standards for locally produced vehicles. The assemblers have termed the locally drawn standards “simply a list of international regulations, without facilities and implementing mechanism”.
In a letter to the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP), PAMA has strongly rejected the impression given by Fawad Chaudhry in his tweets that he has framed the draft standards despite opposition from the local auto companies. According to the letter:
“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, which represents the makers of passenger cars, light and heavy commercial vehicles, two/three-wheelers and farm tractors in the country, stated that the manufacturers, in fact, have never opposed the introduction of standards and that they have rather pleaded the government to bring international standards that were promised and prescribed under the Auto Policy for all the existing and the new investors.
However they said, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), through the attached department Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), has simply framed a list of international regulations “that are neither here nor there”, as the ministry failed to process these standards in accordance with established legal and regulatory practices.
PAMA said in the letter that PSQCA, the top government institution authorized to dispense and administer the standards, is in a dilapidated state in terms of infrastructure and manpower. According to PAMA, the antiquated law gives immense powers to PSQCA where whims and arbitrariness dominate; therefore, it would be suicidal for the industry to acquiesce to such an unfair arrangement. The letter stated:
“Yes! Please bring international standards and equip PSQCA with requisite testing facilities but deploy well-versed manpower for the real benefit to the industry and the public at large.”