By Anzal Amin
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Thursday said there had been a massive increase in economic activity in the country due to the revival of construction sector, which had so far fetched investment of Rs 1 trillion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced a special package for the construction sector, including FBR exemption regime and reduction in fixed taxes to offset the negative impacts of the lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic in April last year, he told a news conference.
The package, he said, received an overwhelming response from across the country with scores of projects of Rs 1,000 billion in the construction sector were given approval by both the federal and provincial governments. The projects of Rs 491 billion registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) under its exemption scheme, were also among them, the minister added.
Farrukh said the construction sector’s boom would have a multiplier effect on more than 120 allied industries, which would eventually generate Rs 100 billion economic activity and 700,000 jobs across the country.
Giving a general breakup, he said some 24,404 investment projects worth Rs 373 billion were approved in Punjab, which would not only ensure Rs 1,900 billion economic activity, but also create 325,000 employments in the province.
Similarly, multiple projects worth Rs 74 billion were approved in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which would also generate economic activity of Rs 371 billion along with 64,000 jobs, he added.
Likewise, he said, projects worth Rs 175 billion had been approved for the Federal Capital, which would likely to create 104,000 employment opportunities.
The minister said the approved projects of Rs 267 billion would be generating economic activity of Rs 1,300 billion and 200,000 jobs in Sindh. He, however, regretted that the builders and investors in Sindh were complaining about delay in approval of their projects.
The Sindh government, he said, received 400 applications for various projects in the last several months, but approval was given to only 90, while billions of rupees projects were still pending.
The Sindh Building Department, he alleged, was deliberately delaying the approval out of its obsession with corruption and called upon the provincial government to pay special focus to the construction sector and facilitate the investors.
Farrukh said the Federal Government had held 94 meetings on the construction sector. Some 48 meetings of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Housing, Construction, and development were convened by the prime minister, he added.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan, soon after coming into power in 2018, took historic steps to boost the construction sector that was neglected by the previous governments.
“The construction industry plays an important role in the economic uplift and development of any country,” he remarked.