PM assures of facilitating construction industry to boost exports
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated his government’s resolve to continue facilitating the construction industry to create wealth and boost the country’s exports.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the three-day ICCI Pakistan Property, Housing and Construction Expo 2021, the prime minister said the government had removed many impediments, though some more obstacles were still confronting the construction sector.
Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Shahbaz Gill, Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority chairman Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider (Retd) and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) president Sardar Yasir Ilyas attended the event.
The expo featured the pavilions of the commercial banks, Board of Investment, State Bank of Pakistan, companies and businesses related to the construction industry, including real estate developers, marketing firms, cement, marble, tiles, electronics, cable and many others.
Moreover, representatives of educational institutes were also present at the event, as it aimed at promoting the industry-academia linkage.
The prime minister, who also took a round of the expo, urged the business sector to ensure availability of the construction industry-related raw materials to reduce the import bill.
With the introduction of a housing finance facility by the government for the low-income group, the country’s 220 million population would become an asset, as the construction of houses would positively impact all the allied industries, the premier said.
Unfortunately, the previous governments never thought of the poor segment of the society, whereas the present government has opened the avenue.
The prime minister said in light of the Madina State Model, the government was striving to uplift the low-income group. Exemplifying China and India, he said, the former had steered around 800 million people out of poverty by uplifting the poor, while the latter failed to do so, as the elite had captured the economy there.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that in Pakistan too, the perks and facilities were limited to a specific class such as English medium schools and private hospitals, which consequently compromised the quality of the public sector facilities.
The prime minister told the critics that systemic reformation was, in fact, the change of mindset requiring a constant struggle.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who came from the private sector, was cognizant of the problems being faced by the construction industry, which provided most of the employment opportunities, he added.
The promotion of the construction industry would lead to wealth creation and revenue generation, as well as bringing about the export boom.
The prime minister said Singapore’s exports were around $300 billion, while Pakistan would hardly touch the $30 billion-mark this year.
Assuring the business sector of all-out facilitation, the prime minister also urged them to pay taxes, enabling the government to spend on improving the infrastructure such as education and health.
As pointed out by the ICCI president, the premier also assured that the issue of lease renewal of industrial units in Islamabad would be resolved after discussion at the National Coordination Committee on Construction.
Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider (Retd) lauded the expo, which provided a platform to all construction-related industries for promoting their products.
He also appreciated the ICCI president’s offer for construction of a million houses under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme in pursuance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision.
He informed the gathering that the NCOC on construction had held over 100 meetings to discuss the relevant issues and facilitation of the industry.
He also assured that the recommendations of the expo would be presented to the prime minister for onward consideration.
ICCI president Sardar Yasir Ilyas appreciated the announcement of a package for the construction industry and said it would keep the daily wage-earners from unemployment, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reduction of 50 per cent duty on tourism-related imports was also a good step towards exploiting the immense tourism potential, he added.
Ilyas called for development of a new industrial estate in Islamabad, offering a financial support of Rs4 billion from the business community of the Capital.
Moreover, he said, the ICCI was in the process of compiling a database of the country’s exporters for its onward dissemination to the country’s missions abroad to help establish business-to-business linkages.
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