Tanveer for setting up company to promote defence exports

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ISLAMABAD, June 29 (APP): Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain Wednesday underlined the need for setting up a company to promote exports of the defence products in a more efficient manner.

“Although, regular exhibitions of defence products are held at different level, but we should create our own company, having professionals and experts, for effective marketing of the products,” he said while responding to a suggestion of MNA Shehryar Afridi in a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence Production.

The meeting was chaired by Khawaja Sohail Mansoor and attended among others by MNAs Muhammad Khan Daha, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chaudhry Hamid Hameed, Muhammad Moeen Wattoo, Sardar Muhammad Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa, Bhawan Das, Amra Khan, Muhammad Qasim Noon, Iffat Liaqat, Shehryar Afridi, Ayesha Gulalai, Asiya Nasir and Bilal Rehman, Besides Secretary Defence production Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Muhammad and Director General Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (MVRDE) Major General Muazzam Ali.

Shehryar Afridi had suggested that every defence production unit should have its own export promotion team so that each and every product could be introduced in the world markets under an improved mechanism. “The country has such a potential that it can do wonders in this field, but there is the just need of tapping it,” he said.

Mostly, the minister said, defence production departments had their own arrangements for showcasing their products in different exhibitions at national and international level.

He said the country’s defence exports had witnessed significant increase during that last three years, adding that when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government came into power in 2013, the Karachi Shipyard Engineering and Works (KSEW) and Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) were running in loss but now they had been turned into profit earning entities.

Now, the body, observed that Pakistan was considered a good competitor in international market due to quality of the defence products being developed indigenously.

The chairman said he visited various defence production units and witnessed that all were working on their full capacity to meet needs of the armed forces, as the country was in the state of war.

He recommended that there should be an industrial zone for defence products so that the potential of skilled labour of the Darra Adam Khel could be utilized positively.

Earlier, Director General Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (MVRDE) Major General Muazzam Ali briefed the standing committee about working of the organization, currently producing 128 different items for the Army, Air Force and Navy in collaboration with private sector.

The organization, established in 1972, had developed over 300 equipment of various categories indigenously, which greatly helped in reducing foreign dependence, he said.

The DG said the organization had steadily evolved over the years, starting with development of Armoured Vehicles Launched Bridges (AVLBs) in 1970 and General Service Equipment Pertaining to tri services including bridges, boats, track ways,fuel and water bowzers till 2000.

“MVRDE has progressed to develop state of the art equipment like simulators and Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) besides expanding the scope of activities to include equipment for Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy and projects related to training equipment ,” he said.

Presently, he said, a large variety of equipment ranging from logistics like Chiller van, K-loader to operations like Rocket Delivered Mine System, Mine Dispensing System and bridging equipment were under evolution.

He underlined the need for strengthening MVRDE with more highly qualified engineers, besides replacing the old equipment and upgrading the existing infrastructure.

Answering a query of Chairman Standing Committee Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, the DG said presently 20 intern engineers were working with the organization, whom specialized training was being imparted for their grooming.