LAHORE              -         The business community has lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan for announcing a big incentives package for the construction industry, providing subsidy of Rs.30 billion for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project so that people could build their dream house at an affordable cost. In a statement issued on Saturday, Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) President Kashif Anwar observed the subsidy of Rs.30 being given to Naya Pakistan Housing project will also spur the construction activities while the Construction Industry Development Board will promote the construction industry. The step was necessary to keep the economy running while the Prime Minister incentivized package for the construction industry will increase employment opportunities in the country in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. He maintained that the move would facilitate the daily wagers. He said the construction industry is the second largest sector in the country which provides employment to the people. FEBR appreciated the government to create a balance between maintaining a lockdown and keeping the construction sector running to save people from hunger and poverty. He also appreciated the allocation of Rs200 billion for those who have lost their jobs or facing income issues during the coronavirus crisis, urging the government to formulate a mechanism to ensure that funds are provided to the most deserving segments of the society. Hailing the special package for construction industry, the FEBR leader, who is also the former LCCI vice president, said that the sector plays an important part in development of a country. He said that due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus on the country’s economy, the government obtained a recess in international obligation till Dec 31 this year and people investing in the construction industry would not be asked about their sources of income.

FEBR President asked the construction industry and investors to take advantage of the opportunity, as the government tried to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. He said that on the construction of each house the government would provide a subsidy of Rs300,000, which is a good step, as a subsidy of Rs0.3 million each will be given on the first 100,000 houses constructed.

Further, those people who borrow from banks to construct their homes will be given a subsidised interest rate. The interest rate for a five-marla house will be five per cent and for a 10-marla house it will be seven per cent,” he said.

He hailed the federal government to reduce the number of NOCs and made a one-window operation in all the provinces, besides reducing taxes in the provinces and now investors should take advantage of this short window of opportunity.

He said that in India house financing by banks is 10% and in Europe almost 90%, but in Pakistan it is now 0.2%, which is a welcome step.

He recommended that the purpose of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development should be removal of obstacles in the way of the construction industry and for this purpose the provinces should also be taken on board.