ISLAMABAD   -   Realtors have demanded of the government for early withdrawal of high taxes on real estate sector.

Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), said that the construction industry plays a key role in the economic development of the economy, but the government has hiked taxes on real estate and construction sector in the new budget that would badly affect business activities of this sector and prove more harmful to the economy. He stressed that the government should withdraw high taxes on realtors to save this sector from further troubles.

He said this while addressing a meeting of ICCI Real Estate Committee that was convened to discuss new tax measures on the real estate sector through the new budget.

Shakeel Munir said that around 74 industries were linked with construction sector directly and indirectly and increasing taxes would slowdown the business of all industries of construction industry. He urged that the government should urgently engage the stakeholders of the real estate sector in consultation to address their concerns on tax matters. He further said businesses in Islamabad should be allowed to remain open till 11:00 pm as has been done in Karachi, especially during Eid season. He further said that the government should ban lighting of all billboards at night to save energy instead of early closure of businesses and markets.

Muhammad Masood, Convener, ICCI Real Estate Committee said that the new budget has increased advance tax on property transactions from 1% to 2% for filers, capital gain tax has been raised to 15% and imposed 1% deem tax on deemed rental income. However, all these tax measures would badly affect the business activities of the real estate sector and cause more unemployment. Therefore, he demanded that the government should withdraw all new taxes to save the construction industry from further troubles. He said that the government should increase taxes for non-filers but avoid imposing more taxes on the filers.

Zubair Ahmed Malik and Muhammad Ejaz Abbasi, former presidents ICCI, said that hike in taxes on real estate sector has jeopardized its survival and added that the collapse of real estate sector would ultimately lead to the collapse of the overall economy. They stressed that the government should engage with the stakeholders of the real estate sector to save it from the negative impact of new tax measures.

Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice President, and Muhammad Faheem Khan, Vice President ICCI, said that the business community was not against the payment of taxes, but they should not be subjected to unaffordable taxes as it would cause the closure of businesses and increase joblessness in the country.