Tuesday November 30, 2021

No more cars, please

October 16, 2021

This refers to the letter ‘Driving up costs’ (October 14) by Wakeel Khan. Contrary to the writer’s suggestion, the government should discourage private vehicles to save precious foreign exchange being spent on the import of kits by automobile assemblers as well as on fuel. This would also help reduce congestion on roads. Instead, the government should focus on developing mass transit systems for the benefit of 95 percent of the population, which cannot afford to buy individual vehicles. Simply put, the recent surge in sale of cars is a clear indicator of increasing divide between the haves and have-nots.

Not only should cars be heavily taxed, but also the price of petrol should be raised. On the other hand, the public transport system need to be subsidised. This approach is being followed in almost all other countries. There is no concept of ‘planning’ by our economic managers, who have always been from the upper class. Quite inevitably then, the development model has remained lopsided. The country is not even manufacturing vehicles as it is just assembling them here. Despite a lapse of over 70 years, Pakistan has not been able to set up a complete vehicle manufacturing plant, while new assemblers have been entering the market with skeleton investment to earn fabulous profits. Pakistan is merely promoting the automobile industry of foreign countries, which is of no use in the long run.

Arshad M Khawaja