In four provinces, different rules for motorcycle registration and vehicle registration exist in federal territories, Islamabad and Azad Jammu Kashmir.
Punjab excels with other provinces where vehicle registration system is operated under the most advanced system.
The authorized dealers of vehicles are authorized to register vehicles or bikes at the time of sale. The dealers have been given permission to register or submit data of vehicle and the buyer in the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department.
In contrast, dealers in Karachi have been asked to make complete application form, CNIC copy of the applicant, authority/registration letter of the assembler in favor of the buyer and sales tax paid invoice by the dealer and by the assembler including pay order of registration charges in favor of motor registering authority of Karachi.
Due to these cumbersome and lengthy processes the buyer and the dealer will have to wait due to half day of Friday and Saturdays and Sundays being the holiday. When the dealers’ representatives or agents go to the MRA Karachi – the officials try to find loop holes and create unnecessary objections. After greasing the palm of the officials – all the problems are solved.
“The Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah should take notice over the corruption in MRA Karachi,” chairman Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers (APMA), Mohammad Sabir Sheikh said.
Contrary to this, he said the Punjab government has fixed the charges or fees on issuance of golden or famous numbers to the buyers of two and four wheelers such as 1111, 5555, 0786, 0110, 6666, 9999 etc.
In Sindh, Sabir claims that the officials take bribe for issuing golden or choice numbers. These officials are misusing their powers and the higher ups in the Sindh government are watching the situation from the sidelines.
If a bike is produced by Pak Suzuki Motor Company or by Atlas Honda Limited and this bike is invoiced in up country then MRA Karachi demands Rs 2,000 per bike (extra money) by saying that this invoice does not belong to Karachi district.
The tax officials are cashing on soaring demand of choice or golden number from the buyers. Bike owners like to have a special or unique numbers in which golden number or number of equal digits is gaining popularity.
The opportunity of getting golden number has become a source of handsome earning for the brokers of excise and taxation department and the officials of the government departments. These officials and brokers are taking heavy bribes from the impatient customers.
Sources said numbers like 5555 and 1111 are being allotted after paying bribe of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to the brokers and officials.
They said the game of money making has been in vogue as the government has not fixed any fees or amount for obtaining golden or choice numbers, sources said adding that the brokers and excise officials are taking full advantage of non availability of any official fee or amount of choice numbers.
In the last one month some 30,000 register numbers were given to the bike buyers. There are 10,000 numbers in one series of bike and other vehicles in which nine golden identical numbers exist like 6666, 9999 etc which are being allotted to the buyers by the dealers in connivance with the excise and taxation officials, sources added.
In Karachi around 1,400 bikes are being registered daily in the government department which means that in the 22 days some 36 golden or choice numbers were issued after exchange of heavy bribe between the dealers, buyers and the government officials, sources said.
The golden or choice numbers for religious buyers are different like 0786, 0110 etc which are also in high demand as compared to other golden numbers.
Numbers in pairs like 6262-5252 are also famous on which bribe rate hovers between Rs 1,000-1,500 per buyer.
Sabir said the Sindh government in the current fiscal year has increased the fee for duplicate registration book to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500.
He said the CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah should see the possibility by officially fixing a reasonable fee or amount for golden or choice numbers so that the practice of charging illegal fee should be curbed. He said fixing a fee or amount below the bribe rate would definitely bring additional revenues to the government’s coffers besides controlling the menace of bribe.
He said the excise and taxation department was already getting more revenues due to surging registration of bikes and other vehicles. Fixing a reasonable fee for choice and golden numbers would further boost government’s earning.
Some leading brands are enjoying boom period of bike sales in which Atlas Honda Limited has beaten all the assemblers by achieving record sale of 960,105 units in the country during 2016-2017 as compared to 811,034 in 2015-2016.
A Chinese bike assembler – United Motorcycle, has emerged as the second highest bike sellers, posting record sale of 326,298 units in 2016-2017 as compared to 262,773 units while Road Prince has sold 207,244 units versus 167,241 units in 2015-2016.
The new fiscal year will bring new sales laurels for Atlas Honda which aims to sell more bikes than 2016-2017 for which it has already raised its combined plant capacity to 1.3 million units per year.
Bike demand has emerged due to improving law and order situation in the country especially in Karachi and improving farm income.
According to the annual report of Atlas Honda Limited 2017, enhanced economic fundamentals, better security situation and increasing real incomes reflected in rising demand of consumers’ durables including two-wheelers. A strong consumer appetite for bikes in both urban and rural areas was the major growth driver. Low petrol prices, higher trend of urbanization and demographic shift to youth also supported the demand of two-wheelers.
Sabir Sheikh said another trend among young generation is the usage of heavy bikes which are being imported. Bike assemblers are also importing little quantity of heavy bikes. As a result the import bill of bike imports went up 1.5pc to three million dollars in 2016-2017 from $2.945 million in 2015-2016.
Local Chinese bike assemblers have started introducing heavy bikes for the last one and half years though they look like toys and cannot match with the quality of Japanese products.
Omega Industries, the assembler of Road Prince motorcycle bikes, had introduced RX-130, 250cc recently with a price tag of Rs 400,000.
Super Power had unveiled 200cc bike at a price of Rs 200,000 followed by ZXMCO 250cc price of 2,45,00 and Ravi 150cc etc.
Sabir Sheikh said a new trend is emerging of rolling out over 125cc heavy bikes based on majority of imported parts but so far the consumers have shown lukewarm response due to high prices. The assemblers will have to improve their quality to match with Honda 150cc which was recently introduced at an attractive price. Honda 150cc would give tough time to the Chinese competitors because of its quality and price, APMA chief added.
“One thing has proven so far that these 150-250cc bikes are not for low and middle income group people. A well off young generation can afford these bikes,” he said.
To encourage competition among assemblers and bringing down price of heavy bikes, Sabir said the government needs to simplify the procedure of obtaining permission for parts imports which is currently lengthy and cumbersome.
People are taking time to adjust with heavy bikes. They had shown tremendous response to Suzuki 150cc but later shifted to other brands. Honda 150cc may prove a game changer in the heavy bike category, he said.
Yamaha came with a fanfare but it is now struggling for its survival. The company closes its financial year 2016-2017 on a depressing note with sale of 13,282 units as compared 16,109 units in 2015-2016.
Pak Suzuki bikes slightly came out from the red by recording slight jump in sales to 18,478 units in 2016-2017 from 17,456 units in 2015-2016.
This exclusive article on auto sector of Pakistan, published in Monthly AutoMark Magazine’s August-2017 printed edition.