Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Thursday said that introducing modern and environmental-friendly transport system through electric vehicles (EVs) in the country is of unprecedented importance to the efforts for coping with Pakistan’s air pollution woes and making cities clean and green under PM Imran Khan’s world-acclaimed green agenda.
“Introducing EVs in the country’s ailing transport system are pivotal for modernising it and reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, improving public health and reducing ecological damage,” the PM’s aide highlighted while chairing a high-level meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Oversight Committee On National Electric Vehicles (Ev) Policy held here in the climate change ministry.
He told the meeting participants from various relevant ministries of energy, commerce and automobile manufacturing organisations that while the incumbent government of Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced ambitious the National Electric Vehicle Policy (NEVP), all government and non-governmental stakeholders must work hand-in-hand to meet the EV policy targets.
In the policy it approved in November 2019, the government set a target to bring half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, along with more than 100,000 electric cars, buses and trucks, into the transportation system in the next five years.
“By 2030 under the policy, the government wants to have about one-third of the vehicles in Pakistan running on electrical energy,” said Malik Amin Aslam, the prime minister’s special assistant on climate change.
“Indeed, the move to electric vehicles is “a win-win initiative for all stakeholders, the public and environment”, Aslam told.
“Transport sector is a major source of environmental pollution and cause of global climate crisis. To solve these issues, there is dire need for making the vehicles on our roads as clean as possible,” Malik Amin Aslam emphasized.
He said, “planet-warming carbon emissions from cars and trucks are not only bad for our planet, they’re bad for our health. Because, air pollutants from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles cause asthma, bronchitis, cancer, and premature death.”
The long-term health impacts of localised air pollution last a lifetime, with the effects borne out in asthma attacks, lung damage, and heart conditions, Malik Amin added.
Meanwhile, the meeting participants from automobile sector apprised the PM’s aide of various difficulties, which hamper full-fledged move towards transformation of the country’s ailing transport sector including lack of support from relevant ministries for introducing more efficient battery charging system and setting up infrastructure.
They also apprised the PM’s aide about the EVs registration-related issues that automobile and vehicle battery manufacturing companies and end users are grappled with myriad issues from the excise and taxation departments in registering EVs, as there are many stakeholders involved in the registration process and that registration of EVs is still done on the basis of the equivalent ‘cc’ in Internal Combustion Engine-based vehicles, which incurs high registration cost.
This discourages prospective buyers from owning an EV. Also, the relaxation in registration cost and token tax offered by the NEVP has not been implemented by many provinces, they added.
Talking about the taxation-related issues, the automobile industries’ representatives told the PM’s special assistant that NEVP authorises import of EV-specific parts and components at 1% custom duty and their sale at 1% GST. However, companies are experiencing challenges in interpretation of rules and regulations by FBR’s Customs and Inland Revenue Department dictating import of EV specific parts and components.
The industry representatives told Malik Amin that despite repeated requests and reminders, the GST on charging stations has not brought down from 17 percent.
Charging stations are hardly profitable from business perspective and so much so even at one percent GST. However, 17 percent GST would only discourage investment by the private sector in developing the required EV charging infrastructure in the country, which can critically impact the EV penetration targets set in the EV policy.
PM’s aide Malik Amin assured the private sector of his fullest support in addressing these issues by involving all relevant government organisations including ministries to provide enabling environment for pushing up use of electric vehicle as a part of the incumbent government’s vision for clean and green Pakistan.