KARACHI: Chairman Constructors Association of Pakistan (CAP) and Indusmen Corporation Chief Executive Officer Syed Afzal-ur-Rahman has demanded of government to immediately form an independent construction development board like Engineering Development Board in order to patronize the growing construction industry.
He said that the construction sector of the country was being overlooked that desperately needed improvement in its competence to enter into the international market.
“Construction industry in Pakistan consumes almost 80 percent of the national development budget and pays highest tax per annum turn over,” he said adding that it provided jobs to millions of skilled, semi and unskilled workers, besides supporting more than 40 major allied industries of construction materials.
He suggested that the government should form Construction Development Authority of Pakistan (CDAP) similar to Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) while construction sector should be given ample representation in Sindh Board of Revenue (SBR) and Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (SPPRA) so that stakeholders could assist policymakers in preparing economic development friendly policies.
The CAP chairman said the growth of all sectors were interlinked with the construction sector directly or indirectly, thus by using underutilized resources available with the local construction industry on some doable terms and conditions as well as by spending in the construction activity, rapid growth could be achieved in the transport, storage and communication sectors.
He said development of infrastructure such as dams, canals, roads, water supply, power supply, sanitation, school, hospital etc have always been considered vital for progress of the country, however, the government had been neglecting the construction sector.
Sharing the miseries of the industry, Rehman said the construction sector of Pakistan was heavily regulated and taxed by the federal and provincial fronts and the cost of doing business and risks for the investment-related construction matters were the highest in the region.
“There is no ministry or platform available in Pakistan for this industry,” he said. Rehman said that introduction of new levy of sales tax on services at provincial level was another complex issue. “If a Punjab based builder is working on a construction project in Sindh, he is required to pay tax in Punjab as per provincial rules and at the same time, he had also to pay taxes as per Sindh rules which was in fact duplication and financial burden,” he added.
He said that due to lack of facilities for construction workers, the labour force after getting experience and training in Pakistan prefer to move towards Middle East and Far East countries. He said that the construction workers were making 60 percent of the total remittances sent to the country which amount upto $6.72 billion.
He also called for establishment of Construction Industry Development Authority of Pakistan for the revival of local construction industry in order to get the desired level of economic growth. “The authority should then take all stakeholders into confidence over all issues including increased tax rates in order to resolve the problems faced by the sector,” he said.
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