ISLAMABAD - President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Ahmed Hassan Moughal has said that the real estate sector plays vital role in the economic development of a country as growth of over 70 allied industries is linked with this sector, but heavy taxes on real estate sector in Pakistan have badly affected the business activities of realtors and government should rationalize taxes on it that would help in early economic revival of the country.

The President ICCI stated this while addressing a meeting of ICCI Real Estate & Developers Sub-Committee held under the chairmanship of Muhammad Masud here on Tuesday.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that the incumbent government has planned to build five million houses for people with low income and create 10 million jobs.

He said if government gives more focus to real estate sector and resolves its key issues, it could help the rulers in achieving set target for new houses and jobs.

The President ICC said the strengthening of real estate sector would put the economy on the path of sustainable growth. He hoped that Sub-Committee would play effective role in resolving the major issues of realtors and developers and assured that ICCI would extend full support to it in its endeavors.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman ICCI Real Estate & Developers Sub-Committee, Muhammad Masud said that the FBR has further increased the value of immovable property without any consultation with stakeholders while the imposition of 5% stamp duty on societies and other heavy taxes have caused severe slump in the business activities of realtors & developers.

He said the slowdown in real estate sector has also affected the business of steel and other construction related industries that would further weaken the economy. He urged that government should reduce taxes and resolve other issues of real estate sector in order to stimulate economic activities in the country.

The Committee members said that FBR has started raids on housing societies in Islamabad without any notice that was creating harassment in the business community. They demanded that if FBR has genuine complaint against any society, it should first issue notice to it before taking any action.

The Committee members were of the view that sudden crackdown on societies was badly damaging the credibility of their business and FBR should avoid such tactics. They said that most of the issues of realtors and developers were related to CDA, Housing Foundation and FBR and urged that these organizations should take effective measures for resolving issues to facilitate the growth of business activities. They said promotion of real estate sector would steer the economy out of current challenges and emphasized that government should pay close attention to this sector for growth.

The meeting was attended by Tahir Abbasi, Muhammad Naveed Malik, Ch. Irfan, Raja Hassan, Aziz ur Rehman, Muhammad Ahsan Malik, Tariq Javed, Salahuddin Awan, Tanvir Abbasi, Nabi Ahmed Cheema, Khalid Bashir, Asad Amin, Ali Hassan, Muhammad Aslam Khokhar, M. Ashfaq Chatha, Masud Chaudhry, Ch. Nadeem and Raja Istikhar Ahmed Khan.