The prime minister, addressing the inaugural ceremony of three-day ICCI Pakistan Property, Housing and Construction Expo 2021 here, said the government had removed many impediments through some more obstacles were still confronting the construction sector.
Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib, Special Assistant to PM Dr Shahbaz Gill, Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Lt General (Retd) Anwar Ali Haider, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry 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, the educational institutes had also presence there as the event also 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 raw material of construction industry in order to reduce the import bill.
He said with introduction of 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 allied industries.
He said unfortunately, the previous governments never thought of the poor segment but the incumbent government had 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.
The prime minister said in Pakistan too, the perks and facilities were limited to a specific class like English medium schools and private hospitals which consequently compromised the quality of public sector facilities.
The prime minister told the critics that systemic reformation was in fact the change of mindset requiring a constant struggle.
He said Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who came from the private sector, was cognizant of the problems faced by the construction industry which provided most of the employment opportunities.
He said the promotion of construction industry would lead to the wealth creation and revenue generation as well brining about the export boom.
The prime minister said Singapore’s exports were around $300 billion while Pakistan would hardly touch $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 improving infrastructure like education and health.
As pointed out by the ICCI president, the prime minister 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 (Retd) Anwar Ali Haider said lauded the initiative of Expo which provided a platform to all construction-related industries to promote their products.
He also appreciated the ICCI president’s offer for construction of a million houses under Naya Pakistan Housing Program in pursuance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision.
He told the gathering that the NCOC on construction had held over a hundred meeting 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 package for construction industry what he said had kept the daily wagers from unemployment particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the reduction of 50pc duty on tourism related imports was also a good step towards exploiting the immense potential of tourism.
He called for development of a new industrial estate in Islamabad offering a financial support of Rs 4 billion from Islamabad’s business community.
Moreover, he said the ICCI was in process of compiling a database of country’s exporters for its onward dissemination to the country’s missions abroad to help establish business to business linkages.