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Aug 13 - 19, 2001

Engineer Syed Jamshed Ali Rizvi, is the Chairman of Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD). Jamshed is also the Managing Director of Rizvi Builders, which is a respected name in the construction industry. His company developed a number of prestigious housing and commercial complexes including Mehboob Heights, Mehboob Corner, Mehboob Terrace, Mehboob Park View, Mehboob Arcade, Mehboob Apartment and Gulshan-e-Ali.

The credibility he earned in his profession was duly acknowledged when he was nominated as the member for the Prime Minister's Committee for Construction sector. He was also elected Chairman of ABAD for the period of 1998-99. He secured his degree in civil engineering from NED University Karachi. He was also elected as the chairman of Pakistan Engineering Council for the second term in 2000. He represented Pakistan in the first Stone Convention and International Marble and Machinery Exhibition held in Italy.

PAGE: Your term as the Chairman ABAD is about to end as the next elections are due next week. Would you like to highlight what did you achieve during the whole year.

JAMSHED: Representatives of housing and construction industry were making efforts through the platform of ABAD to get the status of industry to the housing sector in Pakistan. Credit goes to the current team of ABAD representatives that the goal has been successfully achieved as the government has recently placed the housing sector in the category of industry. By virtue of this status, the housing sector will be eligible to all benefits available to other industrial sectors. The benefits the housing sector will get after being declared as the industry will be exemption in taxes; incentive in the form of reduced import duty on raw materials, availability of financing facility from the banking sector. The government has issued notification and SRO in this respect and the housing sector has become an industry, which we take as a great success for the housing and construction sector.

PAGE: As a result of these incentives the housing sector will get after being declared as an industry and the housing policy announced by the government what benefits will be accrued to the people or customers in the housing sector?

JAMSHED: ABAD has always tried to protect the interest of the people and have suggested various measures in the interest of the people. For example, ABAD had recommended to the government that levy of non-utilization fee on the vacant plot of land was not justified. As a result of the strong plea of ABAD supported by practical statistics, the government convinced and has decided that non-utilization fee will only be levied on such schemes which have been transferred from Development Authorities to the Municipal Organization after completion of the development work. As a result of this step, the non-utilization fee cannot be applied on such schemes where development work has not been completed. The non-completion of the development work is the main cause for non-utilization of the land, he said.

PAGE: What measures have been taken for the revival of the housing and construction sector, which is passing through the worst crisis of its history?

JAMSHED: The government in the housing policy has accepted the recommendations moved by ABAD and the economic activities in this important sector are likely to take off again. For example, the government has agreed to replace the large number of taxes by introducing one per cent presumptive tax, which would greatly help the builders to concentrate on their business instead of being entangled into complex taxation system.

Other important suggestions of ABAD are reduction in stamp duty and registration fee at the level of one per cent of the total cost of the project. The EOBI, Education Cess, Social Security and Professional tax would now be received through one window operation. Under the new housing policy all commercial banks and DFIs have been asked to provide financing for Balancing-Modernization-Replacement (BMR). This BMR facility would be great significance when this industry will move towards hi-rise construction.

It is for the first time that the housing industry has been allowed to import all required plants, machinery and accessories at 10 per cent duty. This incentive would naturally lead for enhanced economic activity in this sector and the allied industries. The Excise duty and Sales Tax at cement and iron bars, the basic raw materials for house building, have been reduced considerably. Another important step is the reduction in property tax from 25 per cent to 5 per cent this would also help creating a tax culture in this sector. Another major step in the policy announced by the government is that the developers would be provided land at cheaper rates for the construction of low cost housing at an affordable price for the poor and low-income groups.

The members of ABAD have been allowed to pay non-utilization fee on the basis of occupancy value, which is a great success for the industry. This means that the non-utilization fee would be paid only when the land or house is occupied and not from the time of purchase of allotment.