KARACHI: Builders and developers said that Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has repeated the decisions in his budget 2018-19 speech on Friday which were earlier announced by the prime minister in his press conference on April 5.

“The budget speech has remained silent on taking any steps or providing relief for boosting the construction sector,” said Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Chairman Arif Yusuf Jeewa. He said the regulatory duty on import of sanitary wares, tiles and steel had not been abolished.

The government should avoid announcing amnesty schemes and this should be the last one by any government as it discourages filers, continued Mr Jeewa, adding that there should be some other measures to lure non-filers to become tax-payers.

He said ABAD had proposed the government to allow overseas Pakistanis to invest in built-up properties under the tax amnesty scheme and they would not be asked to provide their source of income for building first unit or on booking of real estate. The government, however, did not include this proposal in the amnesty scheme, the chairman regretted.

New govt might present a supplementary budget to make up for the deficit from the amnesty scheme

Mr Jeewa feared that there might be a supplementary budget by the new government that would come into power after three to four months to cover up deficit from the measures taken in the amnesty scheme.

He said the government had accepted ABAD’s proposal of a unified property tax as three-tier property taxation — DC, FBR and open market values — was not good for the country and national economy. This, he added, would also encourage foreigners to invest in real estate.

The prime minister, said Mr Jeewa, had announced certain measures such as property transactions to be recorded on the value declared by the buyer and the seller. At the federal level, 1pc adjustable advance tax from the purchaser on the declared value was suggested to replace the existing withholding tax on sellers and purchasers and it was further proposed that the non-filers will not be permitted to purchase property having declared value over four million rupees.

The provinces were requested to abolish the provincial rates for the collection of stamp duty and to collect a total of 1pc tax under stamp duty and capital value tax on the value declared by the buyer and the seller. Mr Jeewa said all provinces should be consulted to implement a unified rate of property valuation otherwise it will fail.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2018

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