KARACHI: This is with regard to the news that has been doing the rounds in the media concerning the so-called ‘inducements’ extended by the local car assemblers to ensure protection of their industry. The issue raised by the ‘well-wishing’ members of the National Assembly questioned the need for protection of the local auto industry and demanded that cars be imported from India. The motives of these honourable parliamentarians certainly sound dubious as the only beneficiaries of such requests will be the dealers who contribute little towards the country’s economic output. One would like to point out that allowing such requests to be granted will ultimately do more harm than good to the economy and will also serve as a severe blow to the domestic auto industry.
Local auto companies manufacture new vehicles that are sold at the same cost as used vehicles that are imported from other countries. Pakistan’s future depends on the growth of its industries and it needs a strong auto sector that provides employment opportunities and makes significant contributions to economic growth of the country. Already the leniency granted in the import of used cars due to lack of tariff barriers has ended up flooding the market with sub-standard vehicles. These cars are neither beneficial to the economy nor do they provide the customer with any advantage as they cost far more than their actual worth and end up being a liability due to their ever-rising maintenance costs.
I would like to request the government to take initiatives that would benefit, support and protect local industries instead of adding to the woes of an already debt-trapped economy.
Syed Ovais Akhtar
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.
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