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Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies Friday conducted an online interactive session to discuss Prime Minister Imran Khan's Construction Incentive Package under Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, to increase the employment opportunities in the country amid COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime minister's construction incentive package concentrates on tax rebates and incentives in the construction center, the intention of which is to ensure a quick activation of economic activity and to encourage investors to invest in low-cost housing schemes.

President Arif Alvi had promulgated Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 for construction industry. The salient features of the Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 for construction industry included introduction of a fixed tax regime - based on per square feet and per square yard - for developers and the builders.

The session was attended by seasoned experts from various fields of life, including Shafiq Akbar, CEO Imarat Group of Companies and Chairman IIPS, Vice Chairman LDA SM Imran, Chairman ABAD, Akber Sheikh, President IIPS Advisory Board Lt-Gen Haroon Aslam (retired), former chairman Naya Pakistan Zaigham Mahmood, Provincial Chief (Punjab) SMEDA Javed Afzal, and Chairman PCATP Kaleem Siddiqui.

The seasoned experts gave their insights on how the construction incentive package will help in shaping the urban fabric of the country, and the effect of tax rebates and incentives on construction-related activities.

They also discussed the views of builders, developers and sustainability practitioners on the construction package.

Shafiq Akbar, CEO Imarat Group of Companies said that since the inception of Pakistan, this is the first time that any government has realized the true potential of the real estate sector.

"Government departments are unable to make master plans of all cities because they have limited human and financial resources. This is a great opportunity for private companies to aid the government in this regard," he added.

While discussing smart cities as need of the hour, former chairman Naya Pakistan Zaigham Mahmood said that energy-efficient housing will create impact only when it will be implemented on the existing stock of the buildings, which are large in number.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020