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LAHORE: Pakistan Railways Chief Executive Officer Farrukh Taimur Ghilzai has expressed keen interest to switch over to locally manufactured parts of locomotives and wagons instead of importing these components from other countries by spending precious foreign exchange.

He was talking to a delegation of Pakistan Association of Auto Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM), which met him here on Saturday and led by PAAPAM Business Development Committee convener Mirza Sikander Baig.

The delegation’s aim to visit Railways headquarters was to bridge the gap between the PAAPAM members and the Pakistan Railways and promote localisation to contain the dwindling foreign exchange.

On this occasion, the delegation gave a comprehensive presentation to the CEO of PR, flanked by his technical experts.

The Railways CEO emphasised that both PAAPAM and PR must develop close interaction to understand each other’s needs. He observed that the parts being produced in Pakistan are not inferior to that of any other country. This is the only way to ease out foreign exchange pressure on the land, as the trade deficit of the country continued to rise, he added.

The delegation included Member MC Irfan Ahmed Qureshi, Haji Muhammad Nazir of Meralastik Rubber and Engineering, PAAPAM General Secretary Ghulam Murtaza and Anas Haroon.

While responding to questions of the delegation, the CEO agreed with the PAAPAM’s proposal that a pre-qualification of vendors system of potential manufacturers was necessary to ensure the quality and transparent mechanism. The Railways CEO thanked the delegation and invited the PAAPAM to carry on such meetings in future to seek ways to develop a public-private partnership.

PAAPAM Business Development Committee convener Mirza Sikander Baig, on this occasion, asked the Pakistan Railways CEO to join hands with the PAAPAM to strengthen the local industry to grow, create more job opportunities, and curb the foreign exchange drain. He briefed the CEO on those engineering areas where PAAPAM could cooperate with the railways and other state-owned engineering entities, including Wapda, SNGPL and Defence sector.

Mirza Sikander Baig said that this working collaboration would favorably impact the government’s vision of indigenization, leading to substantial saving of foreign exchange to the exchequer.

He said that the local industry is fully capable of bridging the huge gap of ever-rising trade deficit not only through enhancing exports but also by controlling unbridled imports through “import deletion” of industrial replacement parts. He informed the CEO that there is a huge possibility of import deletion of industrial replacement parts, in addition to automotive parts, through public-private partnership.

Through import deletion, we can minimize our dependence on imported goods by using reverse engineering technology in Pakistan under public–private partnership in line with the Chinese model, preventing the rapid outflow of billions of dollars spent on imported merchandise, he said.

He stressed the need for a Public-Private Partnership under the Win-Win spirit for any long-term relationship between the stakeholders. It was also suggested that instead of a “no cost, no obligation” development programme, a trial-based order doctrine must be introduced at the execution level in PR, empowering the relevant CME office. This will create a congenial and conducive environment for import deletion.

Later in the second round, the PAAPAM team also visited the railway workshops to collect the fruits of earlier important meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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