Wednesday, February 17, 2010
By Irfan Siddiqui
TOKYO: Pakistan may lose a proposed investment of $150 million by Japanese giant Yamaha Motors because of its unclear automobile policy. Sources told The News Yamaha Motors had shown keen interest in manufacturing motorcycles and their engines in Pakistan with an investment of $150 million.
Yamaha not only wanted to assemble and manufacture motorbikes and engines in Pakistan, but also planned to export these to the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan and other countries. In the wake of the investment, 25,000 Pakistani engineers and technicians could get jobs in the automobile industry. Besides, many small industries could get a chance to produce auto parts.
Yamaha, in a bid to start the process, decided to purchase 50 acres of land in the National Investment Park near Port Qasim Karachi and important Japanese government officials visited the proposed site.
Sources said Yamaha had also submitted the proposal with Pakistan’s Board of Investment almost 10 months ago, but it was facing delays due to confusion about Islamabad’s automobile policy.
Experts say all over the world automobile policy-makers always include four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles in the policy but Pakistan’s policy only covers four-wheelers. This is the reason that it is not feasible for any foreign company to manufacture bikes in Pakistan.
Sources said if Pakistan included two-wheelers in its automobile policy, it would have to reduce import duty and taxes on machinery and raw material. Yamaha requested Pakistan to include two-wheelers in the automobile policy and allow foreign vehicle-makers to come and invest, but 10 months have passed no reply has come from the government.
Sources said if Yamaha made the investment it would create job opportunities, youth might get technical training, industry could grow and exports would increase. Pakistan’s Ambassador in Japan Noor Muhammad Jadmani, when contacted, said he knew the matter and was trying to persuade Yamaha to invest in Pakistan. On the other side, he said, has was in contact with Pakistan’s authorities to get the issue resolved as early as possible and hoped things would get done soon.
Earlier, Yamaha President Takashi Kajikawa said in a meeting with Jadmani his company in the first phase would assemble around 22,000 motorcycles by 2012 and after that it would manufacture motorcycles by using various domestically manufactured parts in Pakistan. In the final phase, he added, it would start manufacturing motorcycle engines by 2017.
Yamaha investment in Pakistan in jeopardy