“The environment and the economy are two sides of the same coin. You cannot sustain the economy if you don’t take care of the environment. If we cannot sustain the environment, we can’t not sustain ourselves.”Wangari Maathai (Kenyan social, environmental, political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize)
Pakistan is among the top ten countries which are most affected by climate change. The toxic emissions from petrol and diesel-run automobiles are a big contributor to environmental changes and have become slow poison for the lives of millions. The environment is the economy; Pakistan’s economy is severely affected by challenges born by climate change.
Considering the long-term environment challenge the ministry of climate change and ministry of science and technology has developed Electric Vehicle policy which was approved by the cabinet in November 2019. The move is part of the prime minster’s clean and green Pakistan initiative.
The policy aims that Eclectic Vehicles are environment friendly, they can help maintain the ecosystem. Transport is a big contributor to environmental depletion, burning of fossil fuels increases the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases which increase the overall temperature. In result, glaciers melt and floods drain out fertile lands.
It is believed that the initiative will bring the new era of clean air in the country and the effort will help transform the climate, which in turn contributes to the well being of the economy.
Economic advantages for individuals and manufacturers
The electric vehicles will reduce the large sum of money spent on the import of petrol. With the introduction of EVs, the establishment of a network of charging will be indispensable. The EV fueling network will create new job opportunities.
Also, with the introduction of new technology, the government will be able to collect more revenues in terms of import duty and registration charges.
The Electric vehicles are hassle-free with low maintenance cost (no oil, filter and tuning, etc.) Also, the vehicles have the lowest per kilometer cost i.e. Rs 5 to 6 per Km compared to Rs. 20-30 per Km of petrol engine-based car.
With the introduction of Electric Vehicles, the first and foremost important is the establishment of a charging network. When Elon Musk started selling the first Tesla Roadster he immediately planed and started a supercharging network.
As per policy the government also intents to charge only 1% GST on the electric vehicle compared to a regular vehicle.
The government aims to shift motorcycles, rickshaws, vehicles and buses to electric power.
The government is striving to attract international automobile companies to boost investment in this sector. In this regard, Fawad Chaudhary invited Elon Musk of “Tesla Inc” on twitter. He offers benefits to American businessmen for starting production in Pakistan. He puts forward that “we offer 10 years zero tax facility and custom free import for factory setup, no other country may offer, plus we are the world’s third-biggest freelance software exporters,”.
However, awareness campaigns from the part of the government will decide the fate of this move. The government should develop test run centers across major cities.
Despite huge economic and environmental benefits of EVs for individual and government, the government also need to fight “vested interests “of auto manufacture lobby. An official of the Ministry of Climate change puts that the auto manufacturing cartel is trying to scuttle EV policy “for boosting its decades monopolized fuel-based automobiles business which was against national interests.