- Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting says growth in construction sector would have a multiplier effect on more than 120 allied industries
- Criticises Sindh govt for neglecting the sector
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said on Thursday that there had been a massive increase in economic activity in the country due to the revival of the construction sector, which has so far fetched investment of Rs1 trillion.
Addressing a press conference, Farrukh said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is focused on Pakistan's construction industry, adding that the recently-announced incentive package will create thousands of jobs in the country and bring more investment.
Last year, PM Khan announced an incentive package for the construction industry. The package included a subsidy of Rs30 billion for the Naya Pakistan Housing Project (NPHP). PM Imran had said the mark-up on bank loans for houses up to five and 10 marlas would be five and seven percent, respectively, and urged investors, builders and people to avail the opportunity.
“The government has also spoken to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and all other banks and asked them to set aside five percent of their portfolios for house financing. This comes to about Rs330 billion,” the premier added.
The package, he said, received an overwhelming response from across the country with scores of projects of Rs 1,000 billion in the construction sector being given approval by both the federal and provincial governments.
Projects worth Rs491 billion registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) under its exemption scheme, were also among them, the minister added.
Farrukh said the construction sector’s boom would have a multiplier effect on more than 120 allied industries, which would eventually generate Rs100 billion worth of economic activity and 700,000 jobs across the country.
Giving a general breakup, he said some 24,404 investment projects worth Rs 373 billion were approved in Punjab, which would not only ensure Rs 1,900 billion worth of economic activity but also create 325,000 job opportunities in the province.
Similarly, multiple projects worth Rs 74 billion were approved in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which would also generate economic activity of Rs 371 billion along with 64,000 jobs, he added.
Likewise, he said, projects worth Rs 175 billion had been approved for the Federal Capital, which would likely create 104,000 employment opportunities.
Farrukh said the federal government held 94 meetings on the construction sector. Some 48 meetings of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Housing, Construction, and development were convened by the prime minister, he added.
The minister said the approved projects of Rs 267 billion would generate economic activity of Rs1,300 billion and 200,000 jobs in Sindh. He, however, regretted that the builders and investors in the province were complaining about the delay in the approval of their projects.
He criticized the Sindh government for not facilitating businesses associated with the construction industry. "We expect the Sindh government to fully support the construction industry, and businesses related with it," he noted.
Talking about the role of the Sindh Building Control Authority, which regulates construction and building plans in the province, he said the Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) government has neglected the body, adding that "the provincial government should review its construction policies".
The Sindh Building Department, he alleged, was deliberately delaying the approval out of its obsession with corruption and called upon the provincial government to pay special focus to the construction sector and facilitate the investors.
“The construction industry plays an important role in the economic uplift and development of any country,” he remarked.
Noting PM Khan's vision to support the country's poor-income group, Farrukh said that the construction package would help the masses who are living in rented housing.