Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced that the fixed tax regime for the construction sector has been extended to December 31, 2021.
PM Khan said that the construction industry was waiting for such a development, adding that an extension to the fixed tax regime was a ‘big demand’ from the industry and now it will have an extra year at its disposal.
The PM was speaking during a weekly review meeting of high-priority economic sectors along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yusuf.
Chief secretaries of all the four provinces also partook in the meeting via video link.
During the meeting, PM Khan directed his cabinet to implement new reforms to six sectors, including food security, construction, economy, power and electricity, and manpower.
Speaking about the incentives that the government provided to the construction industry earlier this year, PM Imran Khan said that the industry showed considerable progress as projects worth Rs186 billion were registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
He added that it was because of the progress of the construction industry that Pakistan was steered away from economic crisis amid the pandemic.
“There are more construction projects worth Rs116 billion which have been registered on FBR’s portal and are yet to be drafted,” the PM said. “Meanwhile, the approval process of projects worth 136 billion are also currently underway.”
PM Imran Khan said that as per the government’s plan, the economic activity generated from these construction projects in Punjab alone would be worth Rs1,500 billion, which would, in turn, create more than 25 million jobs in the province.
He also informed his cabinet members that projects worth Rs163 billion have already started in Punjab.
“Similarly, we have initiated projects in other parts of the country too, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan.”
Special packages for low-cost housing
The PM said that his government also provided special packages for the salaried class to be able to purchase low-cost houses, adding that banks have been instructed to extend full support to people in this regard.
“Banks have set aside Rs378 billion for the construction sector,” the PM said. “For low-cost houses, banks will lend loans on 5% to 7% interest rates, and in the first phase, 0.1 million houses will be constructed along with a grant of Rs0.3 million.”
The PM added that in bigger cities of the country, the government is working on master plans under which problems of sewerage and water supply will be addressed.
Shedding light on other developmental projects in the country, the premier said that the process of digitalisation of land-related data will be completed in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad by August 2021.
The PM also said that the fixed tax regime for the construction sector will be expanded until December 2021.
“The progress in the construction industry has also led to an increase in the sales of cement, barring, and other related equipment.”
‘Smart lockdown exceptionally beneficial for the country’
Prime Minister Imran Khan also said that his government devised careful strategies to save the country from the economic crisis brought about by the coronavirus lockdown.
“During the first wave of the pandemic, the government saved the citizens from unemployment and starvation,” the PM said, adding that the strategy of imposing a ‘smart lockdown’ turned out to be exceptionally beneficial for the country.”