- Railways minister says until and unless businessmen come to the forefront, economic challenges cannot be addressed
ISLAMABAD: Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has reiterated that his department would extend full support to the local vendor industry and that those parts, which could be produced in Pakistan, would not be imported.
Addressing the audience at the Gala Dinner of Pakistan Auto Parts Show (PAPS) 2019, he said that with 70 million commuters, Pakistan Railway could become a huge market for automotive part makers. He urged the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) to come forward and explore the opportunities of joint ventures in the sector.
“Until and unless businessmen come to the forefront, we cannot address economic challenges faced by different sectors,” he added.
Sharing his vision, he said every member of the society and organisation should come forward and cater to the country’s social needs, adding that the auto industry has the potential of addressing the issues pertaining to unemployment.
Referring to his visit to Toyota, Japan, he said almost all residents were involved in producing some sort of products for Toyota, creating employment opportunities for the entire town.
Speaking on the occasion, PAAPAM Chairman Ashraf Sheikh highlighted, “Pakistan Railways was once an important customer for the automotive parts manufacturers. A lot of businessmen grew in size with the growth of Pakistan Railways, as it used to procure auto parts from within Pakistan. However, the situation has changed completely now, as Pakistan Railways have started relying heavily on imports.”
He urged the government to formulate a strong localization plan in the shape of an ‘auto parts development policy’ so that more import substitution may be created. Integration of PAAPAM members with international companies for joint ventures has become a dire need of the hour, he added.
Meanwhile, PAPS Chairman Mashood Ali Khan said that the minister’s cooperation on this subject would enlighten and pave ways of developing the local automotive industry to reach the desired levels of production.
He thanked all delegates and sponsors for making PAPS 2019 the largest auto show of Pakistan. He said that PAPS has become a brand and symbol of Pakistan’s automobile engineering and the auto industry will soon serve as a launch pad for the country’s economic growth.
International exhibitors, members of PAAPAM, leading auto manufacturers and government representatives were also present on the occasion.