Promotion of housing sector, a priority for government: PM

ISLAMABAD: Terming housing sector a priority for his government, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said promotion of this area would not only boost 40 related industries, but ensure provision of job opportunities to youth and skilled labour.

Chairing a meeting to review progress on Naya Pakistan Housing Project for low-income citizens, he directed the provincial governments to work out reduction of taxes to promote the housing and construction sector.

He directed to pace up reviewing of master-plans of all big cities to chart out a comprehensive strategy on accommodation of population and provision of civic facilities. The prime minister asked the provincial secretaries to gather information within one week about the unused public land where houses for low-income families could be set up after due planning. The Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority gave a briefing on steps taken for implementation of the project and informed the prime minister that tax levied on construction phase would be abolished, for which the matter was under consideration for approval by the provinces including Punjab, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The prime minister was updated about the consensus developed among provincial governments on fixed taxation on sale of constructed house.

The houses built under the Naya Pakistan project will be exempt from this tax. The meeting was told that steps were underway to reduce the rate of Capital Value Tax and issuance of E-stamp papers to facilitate people related to housing and construction sector. About ease-of-doing-business in housing, the prime minister was apprised that an online portal by the provincial governments would be launched which will link up the government departments relevant to housing sector. The step will save the businessmen and traders from visiting different offices to receive No Objection Certificates (NOCs).

It was highlighted that the process of construction was being made easy by reducing the required number NOCs and permits. The Chairman said request had been made with provinces to point out land for establishment of housing projects for low-income persons. The prime minister was also apprised about progress on abolishing the NOC required from Aviation Division for construction of multi-storey buildings. The prime minister expressed satisfaction over progress on steps taken for housing sector. The meeting was attended by the Chairman Federal Bureau of Revenue, provincial chief secretaries and relevant senior officials.