Govt needs to rethink ban on non-filers from investing in property: ICCI

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ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Acting President Muhammad Naveed Malik has called upon the government to review the decision of putting a ban non-filers from purchasing property of Rs5 million and above in the budget 2018-19 as it would hit remittances and result in harmful consequences for the economy.

The ICCI acting president was talking to a delegation of Traders Welfare Association led by its Secretary-General Abdul Ghaffar Chaudhry who called on him here on Monday. ICCI Vice President Nisar Mirza was also present at the occasion. Khalid Chaudhry, Shiraz Siddiqui, Ch. Nasir Iqbal, Faizan Shehzad and Tahir Chaudhry were in the delegation.

Muhammad Naveed Malik said that every year, overseas Pakistanis were sending remittances in billions of dollars that were playing a crucial role in supporting the economy. He said that almost 50 per cent of the remittances finding their way to property and the real estate sector, but the new decision of the government would hit new investments in the property sector. He said that of the $20 billion remittances received, around $8-10 billion went into the property and real estate sectors.

However, he said that after banning non-filers from investing in properties of Rs50 million and above, the government has taken a decision that is making overseas Pakistanis explore possibilities of investing in other countries. It would also discourage new investments in real estate sector in Pakistan and affect remittances as well.

The ICCI acting president said that Pakistan needed more local and foreign investment to improve its economic growth, but putting a ban on non-filers from investing in property would discourage badly affect investment, especially in the real estate sector. He said that Dubai has recently offered a 10-year visa to investors and their families while Canada has also offered nationality against an investment of $0.8 million. However, decisions were being taken in Pakistan that were not favorable to attract new investment in the country.

Muhammad Naveed Malik emphasised that the government should enhance the tax rate for non-filers and allow them to invest in the property sector so that It can play a more productive role in the development of the country.