INTERVIEW WITH SYED NABEEL HASHMI

10-15% PRICE RISE OF FOUR-WHEELERS IMMINENT

KANWAL SALEEM
May 19 - 25, 2008

Syed Nabeel Hashmi is a distinguished name of the country's auto sector. He is Chairman of Thermosole Industries (pvt.) Limited, BBN Energy (pvt.) Limited, EDAS (pvt.) Limited, SASA (pvt.) Limited. These industrial units are engaged in manufacturing of Engineering Plastic Blow & Injection molding components, LPG storage, distribution and marketing power generation imports, exports, general merchants, CAD CAM CAE.

Born at Manama, Bahrain, Syed Nabeel Hashmi did MBA from Bahrain. He has strong commitments for strengthening the country's economy.

Syed Nabeel Hashmi, who is Chairman Business Development Group Engineering Development Board of Pakistan, Ministry of Industries & Production, Islamabad is former Chairman of the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers. He is Vice Chairman of the Association of Overseas Technical Scholarships (AOTS) JAPAN, Lahore Region.

Syed Nabeel Hashmi is former President Pakistan Plastic Manufacturers Association (Punjab), former Chairman Lahore Township Industries Association and former Director Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company.

In an exclusive interview with Pakistan and Gulf Economist, Syed Nabeel Hashmi shared his experiences in various businesses including auto sector.

Hashmi said that per annum car usage in Pakistan is low when compared with other countries. He said only those countries can achieve progress which develops its engineering and auto sectors. Pakistan's auto sector has potential growth for development.

Hashmi said four wheelers production in Pakistan this year was 160,000-170,000 units and main manufacturers are Suzuki, Honda, Dewan Motors and Toyota Motors. He said "ON" on cars has been eliminated while four wheelers are being delivered to people within 30-45 days after the booking.

He was of the view that devaluation of Pak rupee has increased production cost of four wheelers and foresees 10-15 percent hike in their prices in days to come.

Highlighting the problems being faced by vendor industry, Hashmi said that under the Auto Industry Expansion Plan, manufacturers of auto parts enhanced their production capacities but they had to face difficult situation when the original equipment manufacturers reduced their local buying. This led to 50 percent decline of production by sub-manufacturers of auto parts rendering 10,000-15,000 workers jobless.

He said Engineering Industry has massive value-addition and Pakistan can strengthen its industry through auto exports.

Answering a question, he said the import of used vehicles should be banned altogether while import of new vehicles must be allowed.

Regarding ongoing energy crisis, he said he must praise the government for facilitating the industry by ensuring smooth electricity flow to it.

Hashmi who also deals with LPG business said his unit BBN Energy (pvt.) Limited has one of the best storage facilities. He said the government policy vis-a-vis allocation of LPG gas supply is not transparent and quota holders of LPG are earning profits by selling their quotas in the open market.

To a query, he said there was no scope in LPG import business as it is not financially viable. He said OGRA certification vis-a-vis gas cylinder is questionable.