ISLAMABAD-Business community on Sunday urged the concern departments to issue notification of the attractive incentive package for the construction Industry announced by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. They said that the PM had announced an attractive incentive package for the construction industry which had been included in the budget but despite the passage of two months, this package could not be implemented. They said that no department had yet issued any notification for implementation of its incentives. They also urged the Prime Minister to take notice of this situation and issue immediate orders to all the concerned departments to implement the package in letter and spirit. Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that the growth of construction industry would move the wheel of the economy faster as more than 50 allied industries were associated with this industry that would also grow fast.

He said that with the acceleration of construction activities, businesses in the markets would flourish, new investment would get boost, thousands of people would be employed which would benefit reduce poverty in the society while construction of houses under Pakistan Housing Program would benefit the low-income people. He, therefore, urged the Prime Minister to take steps for immediate implementation of his announced package. He said that the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic was still continuing leading to 40 percent reduction in the industrial production. He said smart lockdown in some markets and complete lockdown in others for the last 3 months had severely affected the supplies of industrial sector and if this trend continued, there was a danger that many companies in the corporate sector would default. In such a situation, for how long the industry would pay its factory workers and if this trend continued, unemployment would rise alarmingly in the next year. He also urged the government to reduce the price of electricity in proportion to the reduction in the prices of petroleum products to cut down production cost and make the exports more competitive in the regional and global markets.

He emphasized that the government should reduce the price of electricity, which would have a positive impact on the economy. He further said that the State Bank of Pakistan had reduced the interest rate, which was a positive move, however, he said the current situation demanded that the interest rate should be further reduced to 4 per cent that would reduce the financing cost for the private sector and help it to expand its businesses and make new investments. It would ultimately lead to acceleration in the pace of economic recovery, he added. Mohammad Ahmad Waheed observes that the new federal budget had proposed to impose heavy luxury tax on houses and farm houses in Islamabad. He said that last year MCI had increased the property tax in Islamabad by 300 per cent while the citizens of Islamabad were already paying six types of taxes on their houses.

In these circumstances, there was no justification for luxury tax in Islamabad, so the decision should be withdrawn immediately, he added. He further said that a fixed tax for small traders was announced in the budget, but its details had not come out as yet.