Institutional hurdles in the functioning of construction industry

By: Junaid Qayyum Abbasi

The relief package that was announced last year by Premier Imran Khan for the construction sector has been extended by one more year. Last year, the Prime Minister announced the revival of the construction industry to boost country’s economy. Improvements have been made in this regard initially by not asking investors for sources of income, reduction of stamp duty, significant reduction in tax rates, determination of DC rates in all cities of the country. The government has provided facilities in all respects but by the end of last year, the construction sector has not been able to reap the benefits that Prime Minister had hoped for.

The prime reason for this was the lack of coordination between the government agencies. The relief package given by the PM was obstructed in every possible way by the administration. For the housing projects to carry on, the first step is to get NOCs but No city administration, including Federal Capital, has issued NOCs to the extent of encouraging new projects. These administrative bodies have not allowed this sector, which has benefited from the relief package of the Prime Minister, to move forward on the path of development. This is a worrying situation. On the one hand, the Prime Minister wants to improve the economic situation by facilitating one sector and on the other hand, the administration is not cooperating with investors, developers and builders. In the last six months or so, the sector has not been able to achieve the results it should have.

The question is, is the Prime Minister or the government helpless in the face of these institutions and the bureaucracy? If not, how come the barriers to investment in this sector are not removed.On one hand, the country is suffering severe economic problems due to Corona virus and on the other hand, we are not receiving any good news from the power sector. This sector has the potential to end the economic crisis in the country and if given full attention, no power can stop Pakistan from becoming economically strong and to end unemployment.Imran Khan and his party had promised in their manifesto before the elections to bring their own housing scheme for the small class. Later, after coming to power, Imran Khan also announced the New Pakistan Housing Scheme and implemented this great project. It could have been a historic achievement of the government but the negligence and inattention of the government agencies brought it to a halt. Whether the fruits of this New Pakistan Housing project will reach the people or not but one thing is completely clear. Institutions are not cooperating with the Prime Minister and his team, The housing finance scheme introduced by the SBP is also suffering from the inattention of these institutions. Those who want to own a house are not given any facility in the banks and their applications have been made a mere trash. In particular, dissatisfaction was expressed by the people at almost every branch of the government-run National Bank of Pakistan. These are just a few of the realities that need to be addressed. Otherwise, hundreds of such plans, packages will not be beneficial.

The support of the private sector is very important in the New Pakistan Housing Scheme. That is why the sector will play its role in the success of this scheme. If the Prime Minister wants to make his program a success, he has to seek not only private sector support but also government And the management will have to commit to full cooperation with investors, builders and developers only then will reap the benefits that the Prime Minister has envisioned. Government agencies will be required to cooperate with those involved in the construction sector. In particular, NOCs should be issued for new projects to increase the volume of investment in the country.