Reviving construction industry

Hassan Bakhshi

The writer is Ex-Chairman ABAD.

Since independence, the construction industry has not been given much importance in the country. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first ruler in the country’s history to give the construction sector the status of an industry.
The construction industry is regarded as the engine of growth for any economy. It is a very crucial sector which ensures not only economic development, but also employment generation. The construction sector provides employment to all types of skilled and unskilled workers.
The construction industry also plays a significant role in creating the most employment opportunities in Pakistan’s urban areas. It has always played a leading role in the development of the country but over the past few years, it has been hit hard by some court decisions. As a result, investors have stopped activities, and on the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic has shaken the foundations of the industry, which is the backbone of the country’s economy.  
Prime Minister Imran Khan has placed the country’s economy back on the path of development by giving the construction sector the status of an industry. The investors have resumed work on their pending projects, which have also generated jobs. But due to the country’s economic situation, builders and developers are reluctant to launch new projects.
In the current situation, investors are pursuing a wait-and-see policy. The current situation calls for an end to the economic stagnation and the resumption of business activities. By binding people to SOPs, the country’s economy can be supported by reviving economic activities.
High-interest rates have also become a major problem in Pakistan at the moment. Due to high-interest rates, people prefer to invest in banks instead of focusing on investing in various projects or businesses. Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a waiver on investment in the construction sector.  However criminal sources, corruption, and money laundering in the construction industry will be questioned.
About 2.5 million young people enter the job market in Pakistan every year. At present, the survival of existing employees in the current system is in jeopardy. And in such a situation, we cannot create another 2.5 million jobs annually.
Not only in the construction industry, but the federal government should also announce that whoever has the money should invest in any sector, and the person would not be asked any queries about the source of their income. Through this, the money would come back into the system.
Imran Khan has emerged as the effective voice of the Islamic world as well as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The whole world should consider Imran Khan’s debt relief request and if the IMF, Asian Development Bank, and other financial institutions cannot provide debt relief to the poor countries then the installments should be delayed for at least ten to fifteen years and interest should be waived.
Poor countries are currently deprived of clean drinking water, health and other basic amenities, and interest payments on loans are making it extremely difficult for the poor countries to counter these challenges.
The death toll in the collapse of buildings in Karachi is deplorable. However, despite these collapses, illegal constructions are continuing in Karachi and a medium range of earthquakes could make Karachi a heap of rubble. Illegal construction has become a serious problem in the metropolis. In this regard, not only builders the system is also involved in it.
It takes almost 18 months for an ordinary builder to get permission for a project that meets legal requirements. And the money invested in the project is repaid at the rate of 25 percent per annum for four years. But illegal builders gain profit by constructing a building in six months.
Building control authority, the cantonment, KMC, police and the area’s thugs all work together to complete illegal building. If the system is correct and there are no complications, the same can be done through legal procedures as greedy builders don’t care about anything that results in the loss of human lives.
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