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October 17, 2020

EDB totters to promote manufacturing with ‘illegal’ existence

Business

October 17, 2020

KARACHI: Engineering Development Board (EDB), an institution in the purview of ministry of industries, has been staggering to promote manufacturing in the country since its revival two years back by the current government as its revival still awaits legal cover, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

EDB that was revamped by the current government has been functioning with its revival yet to be justified through an act of parliament or ordinance, sources said. The EDB is not amongst the mainstream legal autonomous organisations, they said.

The EDB was revived in the early days of the existing administration to promote manufacturing in the country. The board was dissolved previously over accusations of corruption. Adviser to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain declared the EDB autonomous recently in his capacity of restructuring organisations. However, it needs a legal backup to function legally, said the sources.

The government seems to have ignored the manufacturing sector since it took charge two years back. That apathy reflected in persistent downtrend in industrial production. It’s not announced any significant incentives to boost industrialization in the country.

The government that came into power after a much controversial election was alleged of rather promoting deindustrialisation in the country. It used to make tall claims of development with implementation never seen in the past two years.

“Most intriguing is the fact that its board members were nominated in early last year and most of them have been on the board on and off since first notification of the organisation decades back,” said an industry official.

Sources said the board members have ‘serious’ conflict of interest not seen in other organisations. “Despite no fees they are more than keen to be on the board besides travelling and boarding/ lodging to attend meetings at their own expenses,” said the official.

Engineering sector is a large diversified sector. Multiple members from the same sectors are nominated on the board. Mostly they are from the automotive sector, while other industries are completely overlooked. The auto sector has completely prevailed upon the EDB since its inception with its members including auto assemblers and parts manufacturers.

Sources accused the EDB mainly caters to favourite sectors through statutory regulatory orders and policies. “It is high time Ishrat Hussain’s efforts should not go waste and these lacunas are immediately attended as valuable government revenue is still being wasted in the form of funds directed to such organisations,” said a source.