The government is considering establishing a separate electric vehicle (EV) board, similar to the Engineering Development Board (EDB), in a bid to promote environment-friendly vehicles in the country.

In that regard, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain met Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss his ministry’s role in promoting EVs in Pakistan.

He apprised the premier of the stance taken by his ministry along with many other ministries for setting up a separate board for EVs, which was an immediate requirement for the success of battery-powered transport vehicles in the country.

Pakistan Electric Vehicles and Spare Parts Manufacturers and Traders Association General Secretary Shaukat Qureshi cherished the government’s move to establish a separate board for EVs.

“As we understand, this is being made possible because of joint efforts of the Ministry of IT, Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Industries and Production and other related departments,” he told The Express Tribune.

According to reports, the prime minister appreciated the efforts aimed at promotion of EVs in the country because they were the future of the world and a lifeline for Pakistan in terms of saving fuel and protecting environment.

In the meeting, the premier emphasised the importance of EVs and called for setting up the EV board at the earliest, stated a stakeholder with knowledge of the meeting.

“Since EVs are the future of transportation all over the world, Pakistan cannot lag behind and it is already late in adopting electric transport because of the existing state of automobile sector,” said Qureshi in a letter written to the departments concerned.

The EDB and the Auto Industry Development Committee (AIDC) were constituted over two decades ago for the purpose of regulating the automobile industry of Pakistan, he pointed out.

“However, they were later taken over by a powerful lobby to serve its purpose and carve out rules and regulations in its favour,” he lamented.

“These beneficiaries will not stop opposing EVs and can create adverse conditions for electric transportation.”

He voiced fear that by 2023 Japanese operators would introduce their EV models in Pakistan and once again they would take control of the country’s car market.

“Establishment and swift functioning of a separate EV board is imperative, which will help investors to set up their plants for local manufacturing of such vehicles,” he said.

“At present, relevant Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) and notifications aimed at providing concessions on EVs and related products are awaited.”

He emphasised that control of the EV board should be given either to the Ministry of Science and Technology or to the Ministry of Commerce.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2021.

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