LAHORE - The Engineering Development Board, the apex body to promote and encourage engineering and automotive industry in the country, has been working without its chief for the last one year and now the Ministry of Industries is considering to appoint its head but not for its smooth running rather to benefit to some favourites, it was learnt. 

The Engineering Development Board has been created in nineties with an objective to provide engineering products including automobile at competitive price through policies and incentives. Beside that, this sector was required to be made foreign exchange neutral through exports as per approved polices. However, billions of dollar import is being carried out every year on concessionary duties but exports remained in couple of hundreds million only. Due to non-compliance of policies, government on one hand losing billions rupees in import duties and on other hand no investment and technology is being transferred for local manufacturing, industry, experts said.

Official sources in the Ministry of Industries stated that unfortunately the position of this important vacancy of Chief Executive Officer of such key institution had mostly been filled through discretionary authority till now.

They said that the vacancy of the CEO was first advertised in October 2009 but no scrutiny carried out and appointment made through executive orders which was replaced by other person through another executive order.  They said that Itizaz Niazi was appointed as CEO of EDB in July 2010 through  an executive order by former PM Yousuf Raza Gillani as he remained the jail mate of Gillani.

In the same way, the former secretary industry Shafqat Naghmi also appointed his relative Qazi Abdullah in 2012 as CEO EDB through an executive order. Qazi was removed on directives of the Supreme Court but the powerful secretary reappointed the same relative by keeping the condition of qualification which only fit to him.

Interestingly, neither functions of EDB changed nor its performance improved but requirement for hiring CEO has been changed from 2009 to 2014 three times as follows:

In the advertisement dated 28th October, 2009 in national daily, basic qualification required was engineering degree and economic back ground, extensive exposure and understanding of engineering sector of Pakistan. No processing carried out and CEO appointed by executive orders remained in the position.

In the advertisement dated 22nd June 2012 in national daily, basic qualification required was changed and degree of MBA added to engineering degree, age limit maximum was fixed as 65 years. No processing carried out and CEO appointed by executive orders who remained in position till he was removed by orders.

In the advertisement dated 23rd April 2014 basic qualification required is Bachelor of Engineering along with MBA.

According to officials, the advertisements are totally against the functions of EDB which requires extensive exposure and understanding of engineering sector of Pakistan, experience in development of policies and strategies for engineering sector to enhance the sector’s existing capabilities to service the domestic market and promote it to become a global competitor on sustainable basis.  Government objective is to develop this sector to contribute to national exchequer.

The advertisement dated 23rd April 2014 is not EDB function-based but in fact it is person based, the person is no one else but last CEO of EDB appointed through executive order.