SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION OF AUTO INDUSTRY

By M. HUSSEIN FAROOQI
May 16 - 22, 2005

The automobile industry of Pakistan has always been in the fore front in the social sector be it immediate relief for disaster victims, investing in the Pakistani youth through educational programs or protecting environment.

RELIEF TO DISASTER VICTIMS

Recently, Pak Suzuki Motor Company contributed Rs1 million for relief funds of Tsunami and Pasni victims. Kanichi Ayukawa, Managing Director of Pak Suzuki Motors, presented two cheques of Rs500,000 each to the Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, one for President Musharraf's Tsunami Relief Fund and one for the rain and flood-affected people in Balochistan and the NWFP.

The Prime Minister appreciated the gesture and said other companies should follow suit and come forward to help the government with relief operations in areas hit by heavy rains and snowfall. He said the donation would be of great help to the affected people.

A leading example was set by Indus Motor Company, which organized a "Flood Relief Camp" for the Pasni victims. The Flood Relief Operation worth Rs1 million was organized in which food, blankets and medical assistance was provided to the flood affected villages of Salaj, Sindhi Passu, Tumpagi, Kabri, Zahrain Kahoor, Tirati, Kakri, etc., around Pasni. Medical camps were also arranged with male and female doctors for emergency assistance. Indus Motors is the only company in Pakistan to assist the flood affectees by sending its team directly to the areas disconnected by the flash floods.

In a similar gesture, Indus Motor also gave Rs0.5 million to President's Tsunami Relief Fund. The cheque was presented to Salman Shah, Advisor to the Prime Minster on Finance, on the occasion of his visit to the Indus Motor Plant.

Another contribution was made by Hinopak Motors to the President's Tsunami Relief Fund. Mian Humayun Shah, Area Manager North, Hinopak Motors Limited, visited the Aiwan-e-Sadr on behalf of his company and presented a donation of Rs250,000 for President's Tsunami Relief Fund

TRAINING OF YOUTH

A technical training programme was organized by Hinopak Motor's Product Support Training Centre. The program was aimed at providing the technical know how of the Hino products.

A similar but on larger scale program is being funded by Toyota in Karachi and Lahore. Known as the Toyota Technical Education Program (TTEP), this program is established at GCT Lahore and St Patrick's Technical Institute Karachi. Through this program, Toyota is assisting these institutes in enhancing the quality of technical education focusing on transferring the latest technology in automobile engineering and servicing. The TTEP program bridges the gap between the auto industry and educational institutes, creating a new breed of highly skilled auto technicians who have found ready employment within and outside Pakistan.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

Indus Motor Company (IMC) has launched a new environmental initiative up in the mountains in the area surrounding Lake Saifuk Malook where tourism has taken its toll and is threatening to destroy the natural beauty. A new Toyota clean-up campaign has brought an environmental army into the region with aims to clear up the mess, and to inspire the local people and businesses into keeping it this way. IMC's environmental interests are clearly visible at its Karachi headquarters where 64,000 sq.m. (50% of factory area) has been developed into a garden zone and more than 6,000 trees have been planted and are being maintained. A Wastewater treatment plant has also been installed with an investment of Rs50 million to recycle water which is used for plantation.

IMC has also installed an incinerator facility at its plant to ensure environmentally safe solid waste disposal.

Indus Motor is first automobile company that started using environment-friendly gas R-134a in car air-conditioners (instead of CFC-12). Additionally, regular check-up is done for plant exhaust emission and vehicle emissions and noise levels conform to international standards.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The biggest contribution of the industry is that it is providing employment to 174,000 people. The industry provides employment to people from all walks of life. From engineers, technicians, skilled workers and mechanics to chartered accountants, marketing and sales professionals, management executives and a host of professionals from different fields. In addition to this the industry has the most geographical spread of the jobs as the manufacturers, vendors, transporters, and specially the dealers, workshops and service providers are located in most urban and rural areas. From engineering perspective, the auto industry provides employment to professionals from all the fields of engineering, e.g. mechanical, metallurgical, electrical, industrial, electronics, chemicals, materials, civil, architecture and design, etc.

This is further highlighted by the fact that out of the 174,000 people employed by the industry, 5,162 persons are directly employed by the five major car manufacturers only. In the current year with all the enhanced and increased operations, the figure will go up to 6,480 persons. This is an increase of over 25%. This increase is only in the car manufacturing sector. If other sectors, i.e. motorcycle manufacturers and vendors, of the industry are also included the increase in employment will be around 40%. This trend shows that in terms of employment auto industry will be the leading industry of the country in the near future.

All the major car manufacturers are planning to increase their production in next five years. With the implementation of these plans, significant investments will be made in the country. Apart from other economic benefits, there will be a sharp rise in the direct employment with this sector. The employment is expected to double in next 5 year, i.e. from 6,480 it is expected to increase to 13,270. The rapid growth in the industry is paying the benefits to every stakeholder in the economy. The trends clearly indicate that the continuous growth will provide direct employment to a big number of people. In addition it will indirectly give rise to employment to an even bigger number of people in allied vendor industry.