Govt nod sought for plastic-body bikes

Industry demands tax incentive for low-cost production

Usman Hanif July 14, 2022


Manufacturers and stakeholders of the motorcycle industry have urged the government to allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to start the manufacturing of economically viable plastic body bikes as steel-framed bikes are slipping out of the common man’s reach.

The federal government must pay immediate attention and allow SMEs of the motorcycle industry the manufacturing of plastic body scooties in collaboration with Chinese companies, said Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers (APMA) Chairman Muhammad Sabir Shaikh.

“It should also give the manufacturers the incentive of discounted taxes to facilitate them in low-cost production,” he said.

Pakistani manufacturers could produce parts of plastic-framed bikes through joint ventures and technical collaboration agreements (TCAs) with Wuxi and Chongqing-based Chinese industry, he said.

Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) President Ismail Suttar held similar views. “The government should encourage bike-related SMEs to produce plastic-body scooties through leveraging technical joint ventures with Chinese companies,” he said.

“In Pakistan, people always opt for cheaper transport and motorcycle is one such option. Therefore, the government should engage with the Chinese government and invite investors from its bike industry to invest in Pakistan,”
Shaikh said.

Furthermore, there should be joint ventures and TCAs with Chinese companies for manufacturing plastic body parts of scooties, electric bikes and main frames of these motorcycles in Pakistan.

“People from the low-income groups need cheaper electric scooties to reduce their travel cost,” he argued.

“It is estimated that more than 700 new motorcycles come on roads of Pakistan every day,” said Suttar. “This mode of transport is mainly used by the common man and a considerable reduction in its manufacturing cost by using cheaper material will provide people with a low priced two-wheeler.”

Through leveraging Chinese companies’ technical capabilities, bike-manufacturing SMEs in Pakistan could flourish by producing huge volumes at a low cost, he said.

Prices of several components used in bike manufacturing have surged. As a result, finding cost-effective methods to reduce dependence on such material will benefit the motorcycle manufacturers and will help consumers too as they will be able to purchase the product at low prices.

More than 40 million bikes run on Pakistan’s roads while the number is increasing by 2.5 million every year, Shaikh said, adding that 3.5 to 4 million motorcycles are running only on Karachi’s roads, increasing by 300,000
every year.

Furthermore, more than 200,000 buses run all over Pakistan while in Karachi the local transport has less than 10,000 buses.

More than half a million three-wheelers are running all over Pakistan while in Karachi the number is more than 80,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2022.

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