By Ali Jabir
ISLAMABAD, Mar 29 (APP):Pakistan for the first time in its history has launched National Electric Vehicle Policy (NEVP) to avail the maximum benefits of emerging environment friendly technology.
This policy would help Pakistan not only usher a new era of change rather a revolution in transport sector and reduce mammoth pressure on natural reserves predicted to vanish from the earth.
The policy was globally acclaimed and provided a pathway for Pakistan to reduce its greenhouse emissions, lower the catastrophic air pollution while providing economic benefits to its consumers with a cheaper transport costs and to its economy by lowering the oil import bills. The NEVP prepared by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC ) and approved by cabinet was seen as a win-win for the country under the Clean and Green vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The policy targeted a conversion of 30 percent of existing vehicles in the country to EVs by 2030 and extended viable incentives for the emerging EV industry aimed at helping Pakistan become a manufacturing hub for right hand drive Electric Vehicles and an exporter of EVs to the world. This was the clear vision behind the policy which got global acceptance with a number of leading Chinese companies being attracted to the policy incentives to create not only a Pakistani but also an export driven market based in Pakistan.
For the consumer it was to provide a cheaper mode of transport with running costs falling 65 percent as compared to a normal vehicle making it extremely attractive especially in the motorcycles and rickshaws category. For the environment, it would extend the benefit of dropping emissions by almost 70 percent something badly needed by Pakistan with its cities choking under rising air pollution.
Talking to APP, a senior official of MoCC said that around 40 percent of the major world policies were spearheaded and housed in the Environment or Climate Change ministries of various countries across the globe owing to the global focus on air emissions which this policy aims to reduce.
“NEVP has bagged global acclaim and praise due to its innovative and cutting edge approach. It is an achievement of Prime Minister Imran Khan ,” he added.
He said the committee formed by ECC to hold consultations on the policy through relevant ministries was headed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries Production Abdul Razak Dawood and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam was also its member.
“Most of the fuel-based cars produced in Pakistan are not up to the mark as they had euro-II engines installed in the vehicles and are also exploiting the masses by selling them at hefty costs.
He said it was only a 3-4 years window to get benefit for Pakistan by positioning it as a leading manufacturer of right hand drive EVs by the year 2023. That is seen as the point of take off for EVs globally. “If the time lapsed in just deciding the incentives package and policy domain then Pakistan will lose this opportunity and some other country will benefit through it. Like the combustion engine we will then become a net importer of EVs only.”
He said 43 percent contribution was caused due to emissions of sulphur extensive fuel using vehicles whereas the import bill of oil costs Pakistan around US$14billion and with the EV introduction this oil import bill could be reduced by U$2 billion thus providing a huge economic benefit to Pakistan.
The MoCC believes that the main thrust should be on local manufacturing of EVs in the country as it would make its induction possible through affordable prices for the masses to give up a fuel-based automobile, he added.
Moreover, he said, the proposed policy summary had suggested a nominal import duty of one percent on the import of only parts and components of electric cars if various categories including 2-3 wheelers, different types of cars and heavy traffic vehicles. It further recommended nominal sales tax at one per cent on the sale of all EV categories to make these affordable for the buyers and general public.
It merits a mention here that Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF) would become the first public institution to adopt zero emissions vehicles and save Rs 734.3 million per month after converting its transport fleet over electric vehicles (EVs).
Recently, the POF had invited applications for pre-qualification of firms for electric vehicles along with complete infrastructure of e-vehicle charging unit.
Also, in response to the EV policy, the leading rickshaw manufacturer “Sazgaar” has already inaugurated its facility to manufacture EV rickshaws which was done by the Advisor on Climate Change in February this year.
When contacted Pakistan Electric Vehicles and Parts Manufacturers and Traders Association (PEVPMTA) head Shaukat Qureshi, said they were already in contact with POF to help them out in the conversion of their transport fleet over EVs. The electric cars had already undergone test and trial of 8 months in Pakistan so that those models were modified as per the market demand and respective conditions.
He informed that an electric vehilce including motorcycle was saving up to Rs6,000 a month where as a small car or pickup van Rs 21,000, Coaster, Coach would save Rs291,000 and Intercity Bus Rs 652,500 per month. “The savings shown are only on fuel excluding lubricant as engine oil, gear oil, filters etc, besides the monthly maintenance,” he noted.
With all this positivity surrounding the approved EV policy, delaying its implementation through flimsy bureaucratic hurdles backed by vested interests would only damage Pakistan’s prospects in this futuristic market, he said.