Positive News For The Construction Industry In Pakistan

Real Estate
Apr 05, 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected millions around the world, there are some positive news coming right from the Prime Minister’s office. In a bid to win the trust of construction industry workers and real estate investors, the head of the state announced an incentivized package that will pave the way for job opportunities in the country. Essentially, the package will reduce the tax burden on entities investing in the sector – a move that has been well received by the construction industry. What Does The Package Include Having announced the package on Friday, the Prime Minister explained that investors in the construction sector will not be held accountable for their earnings, till the Coronavirus outbreak has been curbed. He further stated that whosoever invests in the Naya Pakistan construction projects will be given a tax relief of up to 90%. Imran Khan also talked about establishing a special board that would be responsible for taking care of all matters related to the construction industry. Some of the highlights of the package include: - Whosoever invests in the construction sector will not be asked about their source of income. The tax rate will not float and will be fixed. The constructors will pay tax per square foot/yard. Constructions of all forms within the designated Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme for the underprivileged will be charged only 10% of fixed tax. There will be no withholding tax on all construction sectors; barring the steel and cement sectors. Selling a house/flat will not carry any capital gains tax. An all-new Construction Industry Development Sector to be set up to provide guidance and support to constructors and developers. Words of Encouragement From The Premier Imran Khan said that during these testing times the government is determined to mitigate the economy and steer the country out of the crisis. The premier stressed finding a balance between enforcing a lockdown and avoiding unemployment; especially for individuals working on daily wages. “The Corona Tiger Force is one of the initiatives taken by the government to help the working class”, said Imran Khan. He cited the example of Wuhan – where people had enough sustenance for two months, which was due to the meticulous planning on part of the government. Furthermore, a sum of 200 billion rupees has been granted to support those affected by the Coronavirus. This sum will be spent on purchasing rations and other necessities of daily life for the working class. All of this looks shiny and glossy on surface, but what remains to be seen is how Imran Khan and his government go about implementing these strategies during these extraordinary times.

PSL 05 Postponed Amid COVID - 19

Sports
Mar 17, 2020

The season 5 of the prestigious Pakistan Super League had entered its final stage going on, making adjustments in order to finish the tournament with a conclusive winner. The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) had already shortened the tournament by going out of their way by altering the tournament format by changing from Playoff Format to Semi-final Format. Also, they tried to end the tournament as soon as possible as they decided to hold both the semi-finals on the same date (17-03-2020) and the finals on following day (18-03-2020). Moreover, they also decided to play the rest of the matches behind closed doors, that is, no viewership in the stadium and the matches would only be viewed from behind the screens. Unfortunately all the efforts went in vain as the situation of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) got worse as days progressed, as much as it would hurt everyone from fans to the brands, it has resulted in the cancellation of the PSL Season 5 without a conclusive winner. A meeting held, earlier this morning, between the Pakistan Cricket Board and the franchise owners of the PSL, they decided to postpone the event for an indefinite period of time. Here is the Official Tweet by Pakistan Super League. Even though some fans have shown displeasure towards this news, most of the fans have shown understanding towards this step as the safety of everyone is much more important than proceeding with the tournament. Some have also suggested that this decision is very late and delayed as the players, fans and everyone involved has been put into danger, hence, it would have been better if this decision had been taken earlier because some foreign players have started to show some symptoms of contracting this virus which could be very damaging in the long-run.

A positive impact reduction of oil prices in Pakistan

Business & Finance Current Affairs
Mar 11, 2020

Oil prices have dropped up to 30% in the last two working days over the globe and this has created a negative impact on overall economic conditions. This global price slump has a different impact on the economy of Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy is highly reliable to the sources of energy that is being imported so it is emerging positively for Pakistan’s economy. As soon as the oil prices have crashed Pakistan is expected to save a huge amount in the frame of 4-5 billion dollars only from the import of oil and gas. From the slow down of extreme inflation, a new scheme is in the planning process to reduce the interest rate and revise the monetary policy as it can benefit the business to expand its production lines. An opinion of three types of research expects from the central bank to reduce the rate of interest up to one percentage point to 12.25% in the upcoming week. The net import of oil with other imports of the petroleum groups contributes up to 25% of the total import in Pakistan. The amount that Pakistan can save in one year is expected to mount nearby $5 billion. Pakistan has to import 70% of the commodities to meet the energy requirements of the country. The reason for the slump on the oil prices is Russia because they were not able to meet the agreement in which they control and cut the reduction of oil which could keep the prices stable in the global market. This was the decision of cartel to control oil prices in this way but the whole economy faced a downfall as soon the coronavirus has emerged in various countries. Saudi Arabia has also now decided to increase the supply of oil by not controlling the production. Both Saudi Arabia and Russia have a very low production cost on oil extraction and that is the reason they bear the low prices of oil and it won’t affect their economies. The downfall of oil prices will be good for the development of Pakistan’s macros as it will reduce the imports of energy and in this way, Pakistan’s trade deficit will be in control. Similarly, lower oil prices will help to lower the inflation in the economy because the business and industrial sector has to bear low energy costs for their productions. It will be a great way that the government can also lower down the taxes that are being levied indirectly on various production sectors. As for a common man, this drop in oil prices will have an impact. Overall economic inflation will be reduced and a common man can avail necessities of their life at reduced prices. In this way, Saving will be increased which directly results in investments and development of business sectors is expected. This will revive the economic conditions at both the macro and micro levels as the business and industrial sectors will not only enjoy the benefits of decreased inflation but the development of this sector will create many new job opportunities. At the macro level when trade deficit will be reduced and imports will be controlled the country’s foreign currency reserves will be buildup hence strengthening the Pakistani rupee against the dollar. Although on short term stock markets have an increase in foreign sales.

Massive 5 story building fall to pieces in karachi, 13 deceased and 32

Real Estate
Mar 11, 2020

A five-story residential building in Karachi’s Rizvia Society slumped in a matter of seconds and almost 13 people have died in the accident and many are injured. Dr. Salma Kauser the Director of Medical and Health services have confirmed that 13 people have not survived the deadly accident and those who are injured have a good chance of recovery until now. The total number of people who got injured in the accident is 32 and from these two have a critical condition. The most wounded two victims have been shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The hospitals have listed down the names of the patient who are admitted after the unfortunate event. All hospitals are well occupied with the medicines that are necessary for treating the patient whether or not they are the victim of this building collapsing tragedy. Five Women and two children were from those who were not able to survive the fall of the building. Police forces and the Sindh rangers were able to reach the accident site in the nick of time and they started to rescue everyone instantly. They started digging through the scrap and rubble. Residents also came in to help the forces and they also dug through the debris and find anyone who is buried in it. In this way, they were able to retrieve 13 dead bodies and 32 injured victims. Although the rescue team were on time and started to work immediately the families of the sufferers were complaining about their effort. A team of engineers who were a part of the Pakistan army also came on the point of tragedy and they also started to help the rescuers to save any life they can. The report of the experts and construction engineer who arrived on the spot have confirmed that the building was constructed two years ago. CM Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the calamity and further instructed the Commissioner of Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shallwani to safely rescue everyone. Chief Minister has requested from the complete report of the building to analyze the cause of the disaster and the question that has to arise from the event is that whether it was a legal construction or not. The Sindh building control authority has appealed 382 buildings in the Karachi as ‘dangerous’ and asked every resident to evacuate as soon as possible. Most of the buildings who are marked as dangerous are located in the area of Saddar and the total number is 295. The rest 44 buildings are from the area of Lyari. The 339 dangerous buildings which can be collapsed any time are in the southern district of Karachi and 14 in the eastern district and almost 10 of the building are from the central region. The Sindh Building Control authority official is the Askhar Dawar has expressed his condolences to the deceased and explained that the eviction notices were served to the building owners. The people and building owners are not taking the danger seriously and they are not implemented what has been ordered by the authority of building control. There are many reasons based on which evacuation notices have been served to the building owners. In case the orders are not implemented by the owners themselves the building authority takes charge in their hand and implements the evacuation of a strict basis.

Easy Victory of Lahore Qalandars against the gladiators

Sports
Mar 10, 2020

Pakistanis are still very Enthusiastic about the PSL 2020 and excitement got better when at first Peshawar Zalmi defeated Islamabad United with 7 runs and Lahore Qalandars played very well by not letting Quetta Gladiators score well and taking all their wickets. The match between Peshawar Zalmi held on Saturday and they were able to win the match against Islamabad united who won Championship previously two times. They were able to gain the victory with the Duckworth-lewis-stern method and this the match was also shortened up because of the rainy weather. After 9 over Zalmi was able to score 85 for two wickets and they had to chase the target of 196 but unfortunately, due to rain, they have to get off the field. In this match the toss was won by Peshawar Zalmi they decided to field against the Islamabad United. A target of 196 runs was set by the Islamabad united and it was considered to be a pretty good target to be chased by Peshawar Zalmi. The match was opened by Luke Ronchi and Colin Munro pair and Wahab Riaz were able to gain the first wicket on the hit of Ronchi which was balled by Rahat Ali. Next came in Shadab khan and hist and Munro’s partnership had enabled Islamabad United to gain the scoring of 100 runs by ending of the ninth over. Later on, Shadab and Ingram’s pair have ended the match in the 18th over and Ingram was out by the Hassan Ali's ball which was caught by the living stone. Peshawar Zalmi had Imamul Haq and Kamran Akmal as opening batman in which Akmal hit four times four and one six and his total scoring was 37 runs on 21 balls and he got out in the 7th over. The match was ended with the partnership of Banton and Haider Ali and the match was winded up due to the rain. In the recent match, between Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators Lahore won the match. Quetta was able to set an easy target of 99 runs only and it was finished by scoring 100 runs at 2 wickets by 49 balls left to play. The toss was won by the Quetta gladiators and they decided to field in the first place. Lahore Qalandars played beautifully and Mohammed Hafeez was able to be the top scorer of the match who played 39 balls and scored 32 runs. Next Ben Dunk was able to score 30 runs by only consuming 21 balls. Gladiators were not able to score very well and stand against the fierce bowling of Lahore qalandar. They have to end their turn by only scoring 98 with all 9 wickets. Samit Patel had got 4 wickets all by himself and one of his wickets also included Sarfraz. For Quetta Gladiators, Sohail khan managed to score 32 runs with 35 balls and he was declared to be the top scorer from their side. In the Sixth over Patel eliminated Jason Roy, then Azam khan followed by ben cutting and this was a time when gladiators realized that they won't be able to win the match. At that time scorecard showed 21 runs with 6 wickets. Both matches regained the interest of the audience and everyone is excited to observe the next match between the ferocious teams.

Government failure on processing the tax refund for exporters

Business & Finance
Mar 09, 2020

The government of Pakistan has committed with the exporters to refund the sale tax within three days. This decision was taken by the federal board of revenue after they realized that their system was not working properly and closed from the last 20 days. The National Assembly Standing Committee was arranged to have a check and balance on The Federal Board of Revenue about their operations related to the refunding process. Dr. Ramesh Kumar has chaired a meeting who is the MNA of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf and this meeting was also attended by Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz. The Federal Board of Revenue has failed to fulfill their commitment and this was expressed in the committee. The detail of the six recipients of tax refund who are at the top of their information is required in the very next meeting. The outstanding revenues related to complete information is to be submitted in the next meeting which is urged by the committee members to the Federal board of revenue. Aamir Amin Bhatti the Federal board of revenue Inland revenue Operations have acknowledged the issue which has caused the system to shut down for 20 days. But in the first phase, a reluctant behavior was observed in which Aamir Amin Bhatti didn’t accept that the federal board of revenue’s fast system is unable to perform well and have stopped the operations. The system is known as the FASTER system and it was launched to prompt the release of refund related to the sales tax after the government has withdrawn the facility known as the zero-rated facility. This facility was provided to the five sectors which were related to the functions of exports and they were imposed with 17% of General Sales Tax (GST). Soon after the issuance of Refund Pay order, Prime minister Imran khan and Dr. Abdul Hafeez shaikh who is the advisor of the prime minister on the financial matter have instructed the FBR to complete the refund process in the very next 72 hours and this is to facilitate the exporter who has paid the sales tax. Due to the problem of the FASTER system, the textile export sector is highly affected as their working capital is stuck and they are deprived of using it. The system was initiated for improvement but no progress can be observed and this system is directed toward a miserable failure. The Secretary-general of Pakistan Textile sector Azizullah Gohar have reported that even after all commitments the sales tax refund is considered a big issues for the whole export community and the federal board of revenue was not able to fulfill the commitment in which they have to refund the zero-rated sectors and the process have to be completed in the next 72 hours through the system known as FASTER. The refund payment order was issued in November and they were not enchased and this was from the account of General Sales tax which was paid in September. All exporters are hopeless because their limit of borrowing has exceeded and they have used the borrowing to pay the taxes instead of industrial purposes. There is a total of 2200 claims for a refund but only 500 claims have been received for December 2019 reported by the federal board of revenue chief of operations.

Another COVID-19 patient identified in Pakistan

Current Affairs Health & Wellness
Mar 04, 2020

The ministry of health has announced another heart-wrenching news of a fifth confirmed case of coronavirus in Pakistan. The victim of this novel virus is from the area of Gilgit-Baltistan and the age of the patient is 45 years old and gender is female. There are chances that the women were affected in Iran and she recently came back from her visit to the Iranian territory. Dr. Zafar Mirza minister of national health has announced this news of his twitter account. The name of the victim is concealed and it is requested from media to not expose the identity of the victim and it can make the life of the patient and their family difficult. The women infected from the COVID19 have been immediately transferred to the isolated ward and her treatment has been started. The ward has been created in a local hospital of Gilgit and the rest of the family is currently going under scanning and observation to control the spread of the virus. The condition of the patient is known to be stable and in full control. The patient will surely recover soon from the virus because health experts are taking full care of the patient. Schools and colleges are instructed to remain closed until any further notice by the government and this has been implemented soon after the confirmation of COVID19 cases in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Fida Husain the Information secretary of Gilgit Baltistan was the one who confirmed the gender and age of the patient affected by the coronavirus and he reported that the patient has recently returned from Iran. The Area of Gilgit Baltistan shares a border with the region of China and any further decision will be taken in April whether to open the border or not. The Khunjarab Pass is the border that connects Gilgit Baltistan and China. There is only one border that is in the cross with the Chinese territory and is known as Khunjarab Pass and it has remained closed in the winter season due to the heavy snowfall and the road become highly dangerous and hazardous. The educational institutions of Karachi have been closed from the start of march and this happened soon after the first case confirmation in Karachi. The closure was expected until March 13 but now until April 1 it will remain shut down. On Tuesday this information has been disseminated to the public by the provincial government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab. The government has appealed to the public to stay calm as the matter is under control but much fake news is increasing the amount of panic in the general panic. It has been appealed again to trust the health authority and they are taking every precautionary measure to eliminate the spread of the virus. The main course of the rumors spread is the social media and disinformation are increasing the panic among people in various cities throughout Pakistan. It has been clarified by the health ministry that everyone is not supposed to wear the facemask and the over-demand is creating a shortage in a market which is increasing the price of face masks. Many private firms have been seized by the government on importing face masks and selling it at the inflated price as it is an illegal to act in this way.

FBR unable to reach the target set by IMF

Politics & Government
Mar 02, 2020

The FBR has made a collection of Rs 2.72 trillion on a provisional basis in terms of taxes. The federal board of revenue has set a target to achieve but it seemed to drop in a significant amount. The number of tax returns filed has decreased by up to 13% and it amounts to almost 2.45 million. The original target that was established by the FBR was Rs 5.555 trillion but they were able to collect only Rs 490 billion which is significantly very low. The collection was planned from July to February and the short term figures of the collection were 2.72 trillion of taxes. Although the amount collected Is lower than the target but when it is compared to the previous year it is increased from 16.5% that is Rs 385 billion. When the growth rate is observed it is not also what the Federal Board of Revenue was expecting and it was able to reach the halfway through until the rate of 38%. This rate was set to reach the target of Rs. 5.555 trillion targets of one year. From the data of the previous year, the government was able to do a collection of only Rs 2.332 trillion. The International Monetary Funds have an agreement to revise their downwards up to Rs 5.238 upon the collection of the desired target of tax collection of Rs 5.5 trillion. The revenue of 8 months has targeted only Rs 3.207 trillion and it was not matching the target that was set. The budget estimate of the fiscal year 2019-20 is currently not revised and the cabinet has to work on it to provide the budget estimate. The Cabinet’s approval is required by the ministry of finance to approve the new budget for the fiscal year of 2020-21 and it will be done for the revised revenue target setting. The eight-month collection fell short of the aim of Rs 209 billion as compared with the revised plan of the IMF. There is still uncertainty as to what actual target the IMF has now provided to the FBR after both sides reached an agreement on Thursday at the staff level. In the year 2019 Federal Board of Revenue has collected almost 2.45 million tax returns. The date of the tax return collection was extended to Friday and until the FBR has been closed the returns received mounted to 2.45 trillion. The amount of 2.8 million by the taxpayers was for the tax returns of the year 2018. The income tax rules of 2002 state that on every 1st of March the Federal board of revenue will publish a list of active taxpayers and it is expected that by Monday the list will be made public which will also fulfill all of the legal requirements. The date would not be extended any further as directed by the FBR’s spokesperson Dr. Hamid Atiq Sarwar. The statutory date is September 30 of each year to file the tax returns with the federal board of revenue. The Federal board of revenue still hold the power to extended dates to any further notice. The target set up by IMF is very unrealistic which is 45% which amounts to Rs. 3.829 trillion as of last year. The requirement of IMF was to show an increase of 58% of the tax collection and It seems to be unrealistic and Pakistan was not able to deal with IMF in a good way.