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Govt considers regulating real estate sector [The Nation] 04 May, 2017

ISLAMABAD -  The government is considering to regulate the real estate sector to bring a property investment into formal economy, which has an estimated size of around Rs7 trillion.

Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that the government has proposed to regulate the real estate market of the country in the Companies Bill 2017. He further said that it is necessary to bring property sector into formal economy.

A company engaged in real estate shall not announce any real estate project, unless it has obtained the approval of the SECP and all necessary approvals, permissions, NOCs etc of the authorities concerned, he said. He informed that investment in real estate of Dubai has enhanced after they regulate the estate sector.

The government has brought the property sector in the ambit of the Companies Bill 2017 that the National Assembly passed recently. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance is currently reviewing the bill. The bill would binds companies and cooperatives to get clearance from the SECP before inviting or accepting finances from the general public. It would also bind companies and cooperatives to get clearance from the SECP before inviting or accepting finances from the general public.

Committee member Kamil Ali Agha said that there is need to protect the investors of the property sector. Many people had wasted their billion of rupees in this sector due to the absence of the proper legislation in the country.

Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that the government should abolish the condition of giving NOCs for announcing any real estate project, as there should be approval only. The senate committee also showed displeasure on the government’s policy of giving acting charges to officers to head the public offices. The committee members remarked that performance of the government’s department affects by giving acting charge to officers instead of appointing permanent head.

The government also turned down the proposal of a senator to enhance the retirement age of civil servants to 62 years from existing 60 years. “It will be injustice to the junior officers, as their promotion will be affected if we change the age of retirement of a government’s official,” said Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa.

The committee also discussed the annual budget of the various departments including Controller General of Accounts, Auditor General of Pakistan, Pakistan Mint Office Lahore and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The parliamentary committee was informed that total budget allocation for the BISP was Rs115 billion for the ongoing financial year 2016-17. The government had earmarked Rs97 billion and Rs18 billion was committed by the foreign donors for the BISP. They informed that 51 percent of the budget had been spent by the end of February 2017.

The committee members showed concerns on the fraud cases in BISP. The officials of the BISP informed that the government had blocked 1,24,000 suspected cases under BISP.



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