Renault continues to operate in Pakistan

Talk of pulling out dismissed; company seeks extension in tax benefits

Imran Rana June 30, 2019
Talk of pulling out dismissed; company seeks extension in tax benefits. PHOTO: REUTERS

FAISALABAD: French carmaker Renault has not abandoned its operations in Pakistan and the company’s concerns about extension in incentives of the automobile policy are being addressed, said a senior official of the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC).

“Renault wants an extension in the tax benefits being offered under the Automobile Development Policy 2016-21 and the Special Economic Zones Act,” said FIEDMC Chief Operating Officer Aamer Saleemi while talking to The Express Tribune.

His statement came amid speculation that Renault was pulling out of Pakistan. The Automotive Development Policy was very lucrative for investors and the government was also ready to provide more incentives to them, said Saleemi.

“We have had meetings with Renault officials and then requested the government to address their issues and we have remained successful,” he said.

“In order to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, we have to satisfy our investors at any cost,” the COO stated, adding there was no truth in the talk that Renault was leaving Pakistan. The company has fixed meetings with the government departments concerned to resolve the issues.

He said the 2016 auto policy was expiring in two years and the company wanted tax benefits for five more years, but he voiced hope that the federal government may offer extension of at least two years.

“The management of Renault has some problems with government policies, which we have settled,” Saleemi said.

Since the signing of the agreement with Renault, the FIEDMC had not received any email from the carmaker seeking withdrawal of investment from Pakistan, he disclosed. Renault was moving slow, he pointed out, but expressed hope that after resolving the issues, the company would speed up work on the project.

“How can Renault reverse its decision, when it has made an investment in the project,” Saleemi asked.

The French carmaker had started civil and engineering work in 2018. Owing to reservations about government policies, it stopped operational work later. Consequently, negotiations were held between officials of the Faisalabad industrial estate and Renault.

Al-Futtaim Group is a joint-venture partner of Renault in Pakistan. The project started in Pakistan’s largest industrial estate with an investment of $140 million in an area of 54 acres.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2019.

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