PAC summons CEOs of automobile industry

ISLAMABAD – The Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday summoned CEOs of the automobile companies in the next meeting after expressing dissatisfaction over ‘dubious figures’ given by the second level leadership of the industry.

The PAC that met under the chair of MNA Noor Alam Khan at the Parliament House was briefed on the automobile industry by Secretary Industries and Production Imdadullah Bosal.

The representatives of almost all major automobile brands were present in the meeting, who were questioned by the lawmakers regarding safety features introduced in the vehicles, delays in the delivery of their respective vehicles and long due localisation of the industry.

When questioned by PAC, the representative of the Pak Suzuki Motors and Honda Atlas Cars said that at present the companies have about 20,000 and 12,000 bookings respectively against different variants.

However, representative of the Indus Motor Company showed hesitation to give exact figures regarding their booking upon which the Chairman PAC expressed his extreme displeasure.

He said according to his information Indus Motors have about Rs90 billion collected from the public on the name of car bookings but people will have to either wait for several months or face the exploitation on the name of ‘own money’ by a strong mafia.

Meanwhile, Chairman Engineering Development Board (EDB) Raza Abbas Shah also came under fire when he informed the committee that the localisation of the auto industry has been achieved substantially.

Chairman PAC criticised the performance of EDB and said that 73 percent of parts are being manufactured in the country but fact is that only some plastic products are being built in Pakistan while engines and other important parts are being imported from abroad.

The Auditor General of Pakistan Ajmal Gondal at this point also highlighted that there are some issues of tax at custom clearance stages, which need to be probed properly.

Regarding conformity of the safety standards in locally manufactured cars, the committee was informed that 11 regulations of the United Nations have been adopted by the government so far and companies were bound to comply with these standards.

On the other side, an Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Director General of Pakistan Quality Standards complained that the car manufacturers did not respond to their letters for the improvement of standards and the technology.

The Chairman PAC directed to form a committee headed by Secretary Industries and Production to resolve the issues highlighted by the PAC. The committee will include secretary petroleum, secretary finance, secretary science and technology, secretary climate change and other relevant officers.

He directed the Secretary Industries and Production to ensure the presence of all CEOs of the automobile companies in person next time and fixed a date of 19th July for the next meeting.

He directed the Auditor General to probe financial matters of these companies and present his report before the committee in the next meeting. He said if necessary we would refer the cases to the Federal Investigation Agency and the National Accountability Bureau.

Federal Minister for SAFRON Senator Talha Mehmood at this point intervened and said the industry should not be harassed in this way by threatening them with criminal cases.

An exchange of harsh arguments also occurred between both Senator Talha and Chairman PAC Noor Alam Khan, who said he cannot compromise on the standards and the safety features of the vehicles and he will go to any extent to ensure their compliance in letter and spirit.

 

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