ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to complete all infrastructure and construction projects within the stipulated time.

Chairing a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for Housing, Construction and Development, the prime minister directed to ensure automation, digitisation and simplification of procedures to facilitate investors and the citizens.

It has been learnt that a number of infrastructure projects launched during the previous PML-N government are still facing delay in their completion due to slackness of the concerned departments, litigations and other reasons.

The metro bus project in Islamabad and some China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects are some of the examples.

The meeting reviewed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s initiatives for the construction sector, Balochistan’s construction projects, residential sector for overseas Pakistanis in the capital and auctions of plots in Islamabad’s Blue Area.

The prime minister lauded FBR’s initiative aimed at facilitating the construction sector and called for holding weekly webinars to spread awareness and coordination.

Welcoming the move by the government of Balochistan on tax reduction, he asked the provincial chief secretary for further cut on taxes to bring it at par with other provinces in a bid to ensure uniform tax rate for the construction sector across the country.

“Imran Khan directed for completion of all construction projects within the stipulated timelines,” said a press release issued by the Prime Minister Office (MPO).

He was informed that the FBR had introduced an online registration system for construction projects, developers and builders to facilitate the taxpayers.

The prime minister was quoted as saying: “40 projects have been registered so far and work on registration of 4,812 projects was underway.”

Balochistan Chief Secretary Fazeel Asghar informed the meeting that the duration for approval of no-objection certificates in the construction sector had been reduced to 20 days.

He said sales tax for contractors and property developers had been reduced to Rs60 per square yard for residential schemes and Rs50 per square yard for commercial schemes. Other areas of tax reduction include stamp duty, capital value tax (CVT) and transfer tax.

The chief secretary said currently 79 residential schemes were under consideration in Gwadar, covering 14,000 acres, while NOCs had been approved for 104 projects.

Among the government projects, 714 units and 600 apartments will be constructed under Kachlak housing project, he said.

In addition, MoUs have been signed for residential projects in Quetta, Ormara, Pasni and Gwadar for which sites have been identified.

The chief secretary also briefed the meeting about housing schemes for low-income people under Naya Pakistan Housing Authority.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Amir Ahmed Ali briefed the meeting about the residential sector, Park Enclave III, being launched in the capital for overseas Pakistanis and the auction of plots located in Blue Area to be held in September.

He also submitted to the prime minister a proposal regarding significant reduction of taxes on additional construction of buildings in Blue Area.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020