‘Amnesty Plan’ extended for the Construction Sector

Facility of non-disclosure of income source for builders for another six months
Fixed-tax regime to continue till December

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday gave a ‘new year gift’ to those associated with the construction sector by announcing that the fixed-tax regime for them has been extended by another year till Dec 2021 and the facility of non-disclosure of source of income while making investment till June 2021.

The prime minister also gave one-year extension to construction projects which were supposed to be completed in 2022 and now they can be completed by 2023, the last year of the five-year term of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government.

“I want to give [the construction sector] good news for the new year that we have extended the fixed tax regime to Dec 31, 2021,”

He said this had been a big demand of the construction industry which was the key to offset the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the national economy.

“It was a big demand of the construction sector that the fixed-tax regime should be extended as the facility has not been availed in a real manner due to Covid-19’s impact,” he added.

The government had introduced the fixed tax-regime for the construction sector till Dec 31, 2020.

Prime Minister Khan said he was happy to announce that projects worth Rs186 billion had been registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to take benefit of incentives given to the construction sector in April. Other projects worth Rs116bn were in the process of registration with the FBR, he added.

He said that Rs160bn construction projects had been launched in Punjab. “This will generate economic activities equivalent to Rs1,500bn only in Punjab and will create 250,000 jobs,” he said, adding that similar projects had also been started in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and Balochistan.

Talking about the incentives his government had given to people, the prime minister said the government had announced packages for low-cost housing for salaried people who were previously unable to afford houses. “Its first success was the foreclosure law. For the first time in Pakistan, banks are financing houses. Banks have vowed to allocate Rs378bn for construction activity till Dec 31, 2021,” he added.

Mr Khan said the subsidy given for low-cost housing [would remain in place] and the interest rate would not be more than five per cent on houses of five marlas and no more than 7pc for houses on 10 marlas.

“For the first 100,000 houses that will be built [under this scheme], we have decided to give Rs300,000 per house,” he added.

He said the date for completion of construction projects had also been extended allowing people to invest in the construction sector without disclosing the source of income.

According to the FBR, the fixed-tax scheme is applicable to the builders and developers who opt for the scheme by registering their projects with the FBR. Builders and developers eligible for the fixed tax scheme include individuals, a company or an association of persons.

Agriculture dashboard

Prime Minister Imran Khan has also approved the online agriculture dashboard developed by the National Security Division, which will monitor food prices and availability of commodities at the national, provincial and district levels.

The dashboard will use authentic indicators to prevent any food crisis and will also be effective in preventing hoarding and profiteering.

The prime minister stressed the need for urgent measures to control inflation of items such as flour, sugar and pulses and to increase exports and find local alternatives to imported items to ensure an increase in current account surplus.

Mr Khan was chairing the first weekly meeting held to review progress of priority sectors. Special Assistant to the PM Dr Moeed Yousuf, the secretaries of ministries concerned and senior officials attended the meeting, whereas the chief secretaries of the four provinces participated via video-link.

On the directive of Prime Minister Khan, the areas which have been given a priority status include food security, agriculture, electricity, manpower, foreign investment, privatisation, information technology and exports.

According to PM Office, from now onwards, there will be a weekly review meeting chaired by the prime minister, where he will be given briefings on the implementation of decisions made at these meetings with special focus on each sector.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2021

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