SUGGESTIONS TO THE GOV OF PAKISTAN TO MOTIVATE THE OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS TOWORDS REAL ESTATE SECTOR. Zahid Bin Sadiq
PROPOSAL TO GRANT CONCESSIONS TO OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS NON RESIDENT WORKING ABROAD
We are indeed grateful for your taking personal interest in the opening up of construction business and related activities in Pakistan. It will surely provide the required boost in the construction industry.
While appreciating your endeavors towards this industry there is hardly any incentive to the overseas expatriate Pakistanis.
It is imperative to provide the maximum possible incentive to all such Pakistanis, who are working abroad and earning foreign exchange for remittance to Pakistan. Which at present amounts to approximately forty Billion US Dollars annually providing the biggest foreign exchange support to the nation.
MAIN OBJECTIVE TO PROVIDE INCENTIVES
TO OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
- At this point it is extremely important to understand the priorities of all overseas Pakistanis (Eighty Million). In general, and to assess the investment avenues and spending of their remittances which such overseas Pakistanis are making.
- Prima facie it looks satisfying that foreign remittances are limited only to the extent of 40 billion US Dollars, made by overseas Pakistanis but in actual fact approximately an additional amount of 100 billion US Dollars is also being brought to Pakistan annually during their annual visits to their families in Pakistan which are totally unaccountant for in the hand of unregistered money changers.
- Generally 80% of overseas Pakistanis belong to labor class and living alone in the Middle East, Far East, European and American countries where as their families including wives, children and parents are residing in Pakistan.
- Such overseas Pakistanis keep on accumulating their earnings in their personal custody when they visit Pakistan back,either on leave or on permanent basis, they carry all their saving with them and become the prey of illegal foreign currency dealers and get their money encased in Pak Rupee. This part of foreign currency does not become available to the state bank or Govt. of Pakistan in any manner.
- The main object of their savings or collection of foreign currency during their employment is to arrange for a small or moderate house in their own districts, cities and towns where their families are residing in consider able cases the object is to get a house constructed in the adjacent bigger cities and urban areas to cater for better schooling, medical and socio economic facilities for their children.
- Generally the size/plot of the house selected by the overseas Pakistanis ranges between 3Marla, 5Marla, 7Marla, 10Marla, 15Marla & 1Kanal.
NEGLECT TO PROVIDE ANY INCENTIVE TO SUCH OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
It is unfortunate that no provincial and federal Govt. has ever thought to provide incentives to such overseas Pakistanis who are not channelizing their remittances through banking channels and instead carry them back to Pakistan in their bags and pockets. In order to channelize this chuck of foreign currency within the orbit of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), some extra ordinary measures needs to be taken by the respective federal Govt.as suggested below:
- Declaration of foreign exchange on the airport before the respective authorities.
- Some incentive i.e. 1% to 2% to be given by the respective bank on the production of airport declaration certificate and other employment documents i.e. Visa, Iqama, Passport etc. Financial burden to be ultimately born by State Bank of Pakistan
- Prepare and develop a package of incentive to channelize the funds to any productive sector including real estate and construction sector.
- Generally the labor class of overseas Pakistanis do not have any interest in the business productive sectors. Their main motivating sector is to purchase aresidential plot and get a house constructed.
- The federal Govt. must understand that the overseas Pakistanis will only accept theproposal to declare their foreign currency being brought them by personally if they are made to believe that their earnings of foreign exchange with day and night labor, hard work, sacrificing all comforts of lives and in hardship conditions, is being respected.
- For extending this kind of respect all the provincial and federal taxes on the purchase of plot by such overseas Pakistanis and construction of houses need to be brought to zero rate level i.e. no taxes of any kind should be charged from any overseas Pakistanis on purchase of residential plots whether the foreign remittance is coming through banking channel or being carried to Pakistan personally and declared on the airport under the above proposed arrangements.
- State Bank of Pakistan must take this as a challenge to ensure that all overseas Pakistanis should make available their entire foreign exchange either to SBP or any designated bank of SBP and not even a single US Dollar should be allowed to be passed on to the unregistered and unapproved currency dealers.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENCOURAGE THE OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
It is submitted that the entire burden of provincial as well as federal taxes on the purchase of residential plots have to be borne by the purchaser of the plot who is the overseas Pakistani.
The following comforts must be allowed to all overseas Pakistanis:
- Purchaser of residential plot to be allowed in the name of self, wife, adult children and living parents.
- Copy of employment visa and passport should be sufficient prove for the said overseas Pakistani having earned the foreign currency.
- No FBR rates and DC rates to remain applicable on purchase of plot by overseas Pakistani.
- Income tax law to be suitably amended to exempt all taxes on purchase of plot by any overseas Pakistanis.
- No Capital Gain Tax should be charged on the first sale of the plot by any overseas Pakistani for his advantage.
- Stamp duty act to grant exemption on payment of stamp duty and CVT by overseas Pakistani on purchase of residential plot.
- No housing society or housing authority should be allowed to charge any transfer fee of residential plot purchased by overseas Pakistanis.
- Membership should be given free of any membership fee.
- The property dealers facilitating the purchase of plot to overseas Pakistanis should volunteer to charge only 50% of their commission contributing their share to incentivize overseas Pakistanis.
We shall be grateful that the above working paper along with recommendations may kindly be discussed in the cabinet and appropriate decisions taken for the benefit of the country.