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ISLAMABAD: The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided technical training and support to 28 local auto part manufacturers under the SMEDA's Industrial Support Programme.

The JICA cooperated with the SMEDA under the SMEDA-JICA Auto Parts Project in provision of technical support to 28 auto part manufacturers based in Lahore and Karachi, while baseline energy audits were conducted in six small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from auto parts sector.

Officials told Business Recorder that as a follow up, visits of nine companies were conducted for improving production efficiencies.

Moreover, technical assistance in implementation of Japanese productivity and quality tools such as 5s/5T was also provided to 15 SME units.

Besides, 16 training programmes and workshops in the areas of energy efficiency, productivity, quality, 5S/5T, total productive maintenance, etc were also arranged.

The SMEDA collaborates with international development organizations such as JICA, German International Cooperation (GIZ), Training and Development Centers of the Bavarian Employers Association (bfz), Germany and local experts to extend support to the local industries, and technical assistance is provided to the SMEs in order to enhance competitiveness by improving productivity, quality, and energy efficiency.

"With no localization policy in place, auto parts manufacturers along with OEMs are doing their own efforts to increase localization levels in Pakistan. Pakistan's largest selling sedan Corolla has 60% localized parts in it, while one auto manufacturer purchases parts worth millions every day from local vendors," said Mashood Khan, director Mehran Commercial Enterprises. He added that around three million direct and indirect labors were associated with auto industry, making it one of the biggest industries in Pakistan.

"Government needs to realize the importance of the auto sector, which can serve as a launching pad of economic growth, helping government in achieving its macro-economic goals such as increase in GDP, employment generation, and to boost exports." He also added that the above organizations had played a good role in building the capacity of their members.

"I request that they assist in creating new Joint Ventures for technology collaborations that is what the country needs. Also, Pakistan has to be marketed internationally as a manufacturing/business hub for the world, there is a huge shift in the world, and companies are eyeing new destinations for manufacturing, especially in the South Asia, we must take advantage of this opportunity."

"We need to encourage "Make in Pakistan" rather than "Import to Pakistan". For this, relaxation of duties on raw material and machinery imports and discouraging CBU imports is pivotal," he reasoned.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020