ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said development of construction sector could play a key role in minimizing the impact of pandemic on national economy through jobs creation. The prime minister was chairing the weekly meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) for Housing, Construction and Development, attended by 13 representatives of Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) through video-link. The prime minister said the government was providing all possible facilities for development of construction sector and urged upon the business community to take full advantage of the opportunity by making investment. The meeting reviewed in detail the progress made by the government in construction sector along with the incentives announced for its promotion. The ABAD representatives paid tribute to the prime minister for providing historic incentives and facilities in the field of construction. They mentioned that for the first time in the country’s history, the builders and developers were being encouraged by private banks for construction activities. Simplifying the no objection certificate (NOC) and permitting process had encouraged the people involved in construction industry, they added. Thirteen representatives of ABAD in the meeting pledged to initiate various projects in next three to four months, which would result in economic activity of Rs 1370 billion. The projects include construction of about 100,000 residential units. The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the assurance given by ABAD to take full advantage of the concessions given to the construction sector and to start economic activities worth billions of rupees. The meeting was informed that the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had set up modern portals to streamline the application process of NOCs and other approvals in construction sector through online system and to ensure speedy disposal of applications pending for years. The Punjab chief secretary gave a briefing about portal’s features, modalities and monitoring of the entire system by the chief secretary office and also processing of requests received from government agencies. The prime minister was informed that e-service centers had been set up in nine divisions of Punjab for convenience of builders and developers with one-window facility. By August 14, the scope of e-service centers would be extended to all districts. It was highlighted that portal would give a platform to developers and builders to submit online applications from their homes and offices to ensure timely decision-making. The prime minister lauded the performance of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in setting up and activating the portal. He also directed other provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to launch similar portal and one-window facility. He said the purpose of the portal, mobile application and online system was to minimize human interference in the system and to ensure transparency and efficiency.He directed that helpline should play its full role at the federal level to ensure timely provision of facilities like electricity and gas in new construction especially in housing units, housing colonies and commercial buildings. The prime minister instructed all the chief secretaries to ensure provision of facilities in housing sector including electricity and gas and asked for strict action against the personnel causing hindrance in delivery.
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