Construction, a term that encompasses activities related to the creation of physical infrastructure and related activities, plays a crucial role in the economy of any country. It has been estimated that output of the sector has a significant share of 40-60% in gross fixed capital formation. Moreover, studies have suggested that more than 60 other associated industries form linkages with the construction and housing industry. This makes the sector pivotal to economic development as it is crucial for providing shelter, employment and infrastructure. The construction industry is playing an important role in economic growth of Pakistan. Recent estimates published in the Economic Survey of Pakistan show that the industry grew 9.1% in FY17 and contributed 2.7% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). BMI Research has also provided a healthy growth outlook for the sector, putting it at 11.8% annually from 2016-20 and 9.1% over 2016-25. Some serious efforts are highly appreciated to enhance the growth of this sector. Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) is a national level representative organization of the Builders and Developers. It was formed in 1972 with the aim and objective of unifying and streamlining the construction activities of the private sector. Today, ABAD has more than 800 leading construction companies in its fold. Recently ABAD has organized its 2nd Expo at Pakistan China Freindship Centre Islamabad. Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana inaugurated the 2nd Property Expo 2018 of ABAD. 122 leading local and 22 foreign construction companies from Turkey, Italy, China and Malaysia participated in this international Expo, as a result of which the organizers estimate $500 million investment into the country as an aftermath of the Expo. Before the advent of the Expo While addressing the media, ABAD Chairman ArifJeewa and Patron in Chief Mohsin Sakhani said that this expo will break the previous year’s record. “ABAD had organised a housing Expo in Islamabad in 2017 and had got a tremendous response from the natives of twin cities”, they added. Mohsin Sakhani revealed that, we had announced to launch a low-cost housing project for the inhabitants of Islamabad. The patron in chief of ABAD disclosed that “we have finalised a land near New Islamabad Airport and ABAD will soon start work on this project”. We have fixed the price of 5 marla house at just Rs2.1 million, earlier the price was ranging from Rs1.5 million to Rs1.9 million depending on the availability of land, he further informed.
In order to address job-related issues, ABAD also arranged a job fair in which leading experts from the textile sector, cement sector, manufacturing sector, architects and others have participated. Moreover, a seminar on building management was also arranged in which speakers belonging to construction companies informed the audience about new trends in the housing sector. Mohsin Sekhani stated that Pakistan is facing a shortage of 120 million houses and this issue should be taken seriously. If the government announces any policy related to real estate, ABAD has shown its interest to provide assistance in this regard.
Previously ABAD started launching its exhibitions from Karachi when for the very first time they organized an Expo at Karachi Expo Centre which had brought all major allied industries under one roof back in August 2014. Exhibitors, associated with tiles, sanitary fittings, hardware, paints and pipe businesses are confident that they would generate business from such Expos. According to them, these exhibitions attracted all the leading builders and developers who are their prospective target buyers. It is easier for them now to pitch their products. The signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement and improvement in the country’s security situation have been key to boosting not only the construction industry, but creating a positive Pakistani image abroad. With China having the first-mover advantage in injecting foreign investment into the country, other countries have followed suit.
Locally, investment has also been boosted by government policies such as reduction in duties and taxes on building materials like steel, construction machinery and equipment and computerisation of land ownership records. The construction industry is in a developing stage in Pakistan. There is an urgent need to eliminate bottlenecks such as corrupt practices in the industry, carry out extensive computerisation of land ownership records for greater transparency, improve land regulation and building control, standardise and implement building laws across the board and impart latest skills to students for the future of the industry. The vertical growth in the shape of apartments and plazas in large cities of Pakistan would make the big cities more manageable. To some extent Karachi is seeing such growth as organised property developers are offering low cost flats to the less affluent segments of society on affordable installment.
“The Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan is playing a key role in Pakistan’s progress by attracting investments and c r e a t i n g e m p l o y m e n t opportunities,” Doctor Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, federal minister of state for capital administration and development, said while addressing the launching ceremony of ABAD International Expo-2018. The minister said apart from addressing other issues, the government would also fully support the association’s social housing scheme as it was in line with its manifesto of providing shelter to homeless people. Builders say that the real estate valuation system, which has been reformed with the right intention of documenting this sector, needs some simplification adding that the current system of three-tier valuation of property can at least be regrouped into two: residential and commercial.