ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved exemption from sales tax and fixed tax on construction work under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, announced Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan.
Talking to the media on Thursday, the special assistant said the PM had also approved the establishment of a mechanism for preventing adulteration in goods and commodities. “A committee has also been set up to control commodity prices,” she said.
Chairing a meeting to review progress on the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme for the low-income citizens, the prime minister directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to remove sales tax from the housing project.
Sharing details, Awan said the prime minister also gave directives for devising an effective strategy for promoting tourism in the country, especially religious tourism in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
She said the premier had laid the foundation of digital Pakistan, under which relations and access to the people would be further strengthened.
Addressing the meeting, PM Imran termed the housing sector a priority of his government. He said promotion of this area would not only boost 40 related industries, but would also ensure provision of job opportunities to the youth and skilled labour.
He directed provincial governments to work out reduction in taxes in order to promote the housing and construction sector. He also called for stepping up the review of master plans of all big cities in an effort to frame a comprehensive strategy on providing accommodation for the population and provision of civic facilities.
The prime minister told provincial secretaries to gather information within one week about the unused public land where houses for low-income families could be built after due planning.
Briefing the meeting on the steps taken for implementation of the project, the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman informed the prime minister that the tax levied on the construction phase would be abolished, for which the matter was under consideration by the provinces including Punjab, K-P and Balochistan.
The prime minister was updated on the consensus developed among provincial governments on the fixed tax on sale of constructed houses. The houses built under the Naya Pakistan project will be exempt from this tax.
The meeting was told that steps were under way to reduce the Capital Value Tax and issue E-stamp papers to facilitate the people buying and constructing houses.
About the ease of doing business in the housing sector, the prime minister was apprised that an online portal of the provincial governments would be launched, which would link the government departments relevant to the housing sector. After that, the businessmen and traders will not need to visit different offices to receive no-objection certificates (NOCs).
It was highlighted that the process of construction was being made easy by reducing the required number of NOCs and permits.
The chairman said a request had been made to the provinces to point out land for developing housing projects for the low-income people. The prime minister was also apprised of the progress on abolishing the NOC required from the Aviation Division for the construction of multi-storey buildings. The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the steps taken for the housing sector. The meeting was attended by the FBR chairman, provincial chief secretaries and relevant senior officials.
(With additional input from APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2019.