Tuesday May 17, 2022

Industry status for real estate sector demanded

By Our Correspondent
February 09, 2019

LAHORE: The government should bring implementable reforms through Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for property sector to improve the economic situation of the country and encourage local and overseas Pakistanis’ investments in the sector instead of creating troubles to the sector in the name of the reforms while the sector should be given status of industry, besides permitting non-filers to purchase the properties.

These views were expressed by the experts in Jang Economic Session on ‘Issue of property sector – how to revive the confidence’. The panellists were President DHA Dealers Association Abu Bakar Bhatti, general secretary Mian Shahid Mehmood, Imran Afzal, Dr Saluhuddin Ayubi, Anwar Dar and Shah Bahram. The session was hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Abu Bakar Bhatti said that the property sector issues emerged due to excessive taxation levied in 2016 budget while previous government imposed strict condition in its last budget for purchase of property which increased the problems of the people working in it. He said FBR tax notices limiting the Rs5 million purchases for non-filers, payment of overseas Pakistanis within 60 days after purchase adversely hit the sector.

He suggested filers’ status to overseas Pakistanis and incentives, reduction in taxes along with amnesty scheme for six to eight months duration to maximum benefiting the public. He called for proper mechanism for tax collection from plot owners which can increase the revenue while issue of the sector would not be addressed until the government takes stakeholders on board.

Mian Shahid Mehmood said that the FBR’s role in property sector was vital and problems increased due to its incompetence. He said globally real estate and stock markets play major role in economic activities revival. He believed that increasing the tax rate was no solution to problems instead proper research was required to broaden the tax net. He demanded easy system to make the non-filers filer as due to complex system people avoid it.

Imran Afzal said that property market was stagnant due to political instability which also affected the DHA market too. He said that the government should not ban property purchase on non-filers instead the FBR should play its role in bringing the people in tax net once they get CNIC. He said economic activities were halted due to unnecessary restrictions so that the facilities should be given instead of imposing restrictions on any sector. He suggested long-term consistent economic policies instead of amnesty schemes while declaration of property on market-based fair value was the issue. He called for accountability of tax evaders and their protectors.

Dr Salahuddin Ayubi said that the government announced constructing 5 million houses while the country was short of 10 million houses so the construction industry should not be left stagnant. He suggested facilities to the sector to create economic activities. He said value of pace of increasing the value of property in Pakistan was unprecedented than world while the government was focused towards documentation of economy.

Anwar Dar demanded status of industry to real estate sector as more than 100 industries were attached with it and are now going in loss. He said that the government should facilitate and motivate the public to become filers. He discouraged the tendency of holding previous government responsible for system failures while public have high hopes with the government to bring change so it should give relief to public and increase the role of real estate sector in the economic activities of the country.

Shah Bahram said that the government should bring reforms in the sector besides providing relief to public so that it would not be affected with any change. He demanded the government make taxation system easy and reduce the threat of the FBR from public.

He said all sectors and industries were stuck due to economic stagnation while public basic needs should be fulfilled; otherwise, politics of agitations would grow. He said that two years ago 11 to 12 percent investment was made in real estate sector which was reduced to 3 to 4 percent.