Rs1.37tr investment in construction sector to counter coronavirus impact

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the development of the construction sector could play a key role in minimising the impact of coronavirus on the national economy by creating employment opportunities.

13 representatives of the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD), in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, pledged to initiate various projects in the next three to four months which would result in economic activity of Rs1,370 billion. These projects include the construction of about 100,000 residential units.

The prime minister was chairing the weekly meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for housing, construction, and development, attended by the representatives of ABAD via video-link.

The participants reviewed the progress made by the government in the construction sector, and the incentives announced for its promotion.

The premier said that the government was providing all possible facilities for the development of the construction sector and urged upon the business community to take full advantage of the opportunity by investing.

The ABAD representatives paid tribute to the prime minister for providing historic incentives and facilities in the field of construction.

They mentioned that for the first time in the country’s history, the builders and developers were being encouraged by private banks to pursue construction activities.

Simplifying the no-objection certificate (NOC) and permitting process had encouraged the people involved in the construction industry, they added.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the assurance given by ABAD to take full advantage of the concessions given to the construction sector and to start economic activities worth billions of rupees.

The meeting was informed that the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had set up modern portals to streamline the application process of NOCs and other approvals in the construction sector through an online system and to ensure speedy disposal of applications pending for years.

The Punjab chief secretary gave a briefing about the portal’s features, modalities, and monitoring of the entire system by the chief secretary office and also the processing of requests received from government agencies.

It was highlighted that the portal would give a platform to developers and builders to submit online applications from their homes and offices to ensure timely decision-making.

The prime minister lauded the performance of Punjab and KP in setting up and activating the portal. He also directed other provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to launch a similar portal and one-window facility.

He said that the purpose of the portal, mobile application, and online system was to minimize human interference in the system and to ensure transparency and efficiency.

The prime minister was informed that e-service centres were set up in nine divisions of Punjab for the convenience of builders and developers with a one-window facility, and by August 14, the scope of e-service centers would be extended to all districts.

He directed that the helpline should play its full role at the federal level to ensure timely provision of facilities like electricity and gas in new construction, especially in housing units, housing colonies, and commercial buildings.

The premier instructed all the chief secretaries to ensure the provision of facilities in the housing sector including electricity and gas and asked for strict action against the personnel causing hindrance in delivery.

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