LAHORE: Media reports suggest that the Prime Minister’s Youth Business & Agriculture Loan Scheme (PMYB&ALS) for e-bikes and e-rickshaws may be limited to 15,000 recipients. If the number of applicants exceeds this limit, it is speculated that the recipients will be selected through a balloting process.
What is the scheme?
The PMYB&ALS provides a financial instrument for the procurement of e-bikes and e-rickshaws. Under Tier-1 (T1) of PMYB&ALS, individuals may avail an unsecured loan facility of up to Rs 0.5 million on personal guarantee with a 0% interest rate. The loan tenure is three years.
To evaluate the feasibility of this initiative, a meeting was convened on March 10 with representatives from key stakeholders including the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Bank of Punjab, manufacturers of two and three-wheeler electric vehicles, and the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). The proposal received unanimous support from all parties and appropriate amendments to the Prime Minister’s Youth Business and Agriculture Loan Scheme for e-bikes and e-rickshaws will be implemented if deemed necessary.
A split in opinion
Profit probed industry insiders in both the electric two and three-wheeler markets to gauge the impact and effectiveness of the policy decision. The responses were split down the middle.
“The government initiative is timely and targeted. If executed properly it can give breathing space to citizens struggling with rising costs and lead to a snowball effect for decarbonisation of urban mobility,” said Hasan Mian, Founder and CEO of YES Electromotive. However, the two-wheeler market was less than enthused.
“I don’t believe the electric two-wheelers introduced in Pakistan to date are reliable. They’re still in their embryonic stages,” says Muhammad Sabir Shaikh, Chairman of the Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers (APMA). “Companies have yet to conduct grassroots marketing activities for their products, let alone on a grander scale. Once these activities have been carried out, companies will have actionable feedback based on customer preferences,” Shaikh continues.
“The conundrum with electric two-wheelers specifically is that the designs used in China haven’t been fully imported yet. While some companies have introduced top-of-the-line electric scooters, most have resorted to attaching motors and batteries to CD-70 replicas. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach; however, it’s not true to the original design of the electric vehicle,” Shaikh adds. “We haven’t even begun manufacturing the right product yet. As such, there’s a risk that the government may sink resources into products that could soon become obsolete,” warns Shaikh.