KARACHI – The State Bank of Pakistan should direct banks to offer financial leasing facility for public transport sector so to give ample incentives to prospective investors for bringing on roads of Karachi modern and spacious buses to lessen sufferings of people because of near collapse of mass transportation system.
These views were expressed by speakers of the Pre-launch ceremony of “Shanghai Sunlong bus” introduced for the first time in the country mainly for inter-city passenger transport services. Sindh Minister for Transport and Mass Transit Syed Nasir Hussain Shah was chief guest on the occasion while other speakers of the ceremony included prominent names of business, industry, and transport sector.
Speakers were also of the consensus view that public transport sector like any other business should be given coverage by insurance companies for both its buses and staff so that prospective transporters could do investment in this sector without fear of incurring heavy financial losses due to any accident or law and order situation.
Speaking as guest of honour on the occasion, President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry Zubair Tufail said that a functional and adequate public transport system was desperately required by major cities of Sindh including Karachi. On the other hand government of the neighbouring Punjab province has been successful in evolving such a system for residents of its main cities.
FPCCI president said that situation in Karachi had become so adverse that people in large number had to avail service of conventional passenger bus and coach service in the city every evening after office hours while gravely endangering their lives due to far insufficient seating capacity of traditional public buses being used in the city. He said that for such risky use of traditional public buses, people had to duly pay fare as there was no free ride even for such unsafe travelling within the city on a daily basis.
He said that prospective investors would be encouraged to invest for launching modern, speedy, and spacious bus service after being extended viable and attractive leasing facility from any bank or leasing company. He said that there should be facility available for separate insurance coverage for public buses and their staff.
He said that such leasing and insurance facility would produce such viable business environment in public transport sector where thousands of buses would be plied on roads of the city for catering mass mobility requirements of the citizens.
Abdul Sami Khan, chairman of Pakistan Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said that age-old public buses being plied on roads of the city that too in highly rickety state had become a chronic and serious issue of cities like Karachi and Hyderabad with no solution in sight.
He said that viable incentives should be offered to prospective transporters to bring into operation new, large, and comfortable buses to give maximum benefit to commuters of the two cities.
He said given the ample reserves of gas in Sindh, supply of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) should be available throughout the week for smooth and uninterrupted operation of public buses.
Sind Transport Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, informed the audience that provincial government was going to launch an incentive scheme for public transporters where they would be required to pay upfront just 15 per cent cost of fleet of new buses while rest of the cost would be paid through a loan scheme to be offered by Sindh Modaraba Management Ltd or Sindh Leasing Company. The provincial government would arrange insurance coverage for new fleet of buses while it would also share financial burden of the prospective transporter for payment of interest on the loan.
The provincial minister said that provincial govt had the plan to bring into operation over 600 buses on different inter-city routes under the proposed incentive scheme. A separate summary is being moved by provincial Transport Department to bring 200 large buses on intra-city routes of Karachi.
He said that different sections of Rapid Bus Transit Service duly identified to be built as proposed mass transit system in Karachi, would cover every area of the city. Whereas Metro bus service being plied in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Lahore cover only a fewer locations of these cities situated just along the routes of the new bus service. Moreover, he said that Sindh govt had been actively working on the plan to revive KCR.
Malik Khuda Baksh, chairman Mailk Group Companies, said that his company had decided to import in the country the modern Sunlong Buses from China after successfully negotiating with banks and leasing companies that leasing facility and insurance coverage would be available to prospective public transporters who would decide to launch fleet of Sunlong buses on different routes of the province.
He said that Sunglong buses were imported in the country after arranging necessary spare parts and after sales services along with training of technical staff for the prospective transporters who would put into operation these buses.
Gulzar Firoze, chairman of FPCCI Standing Committee on environment and Nadeem Mirza, CEO of My Trading the importer of Sunlong buses in Punjab, also spoke on the occasion.