Fitch: Pakistan Construction Industry to Grow 8.9% Yearly Over Next 5 Years

Fitch Solutions, a global company focused on credit, economic, and political research, says in its latest report that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will drive Pakistan's construction industry in the next decade, as the risks associated with CPEC projects recede. Fitch forecasts that the real annual growth rate of Pakistan's construction industry will average 8.9% over the next 5 years. "We will adjust our forecasts to account for possible positive ripple effects across the economy, including the construction industry, in the event an IMF bailout is secured", the report adds.





Fitch Solutions' report titled "Industry Trend Analysis - CPEC to Remain a Primary Driver of Pakistan's Construction Industry" says: "We expect debt concerns surrounding CPEC projects to ease after financial details are released. In addition, we believe political risks associated with CPEC projects have diminished since the 2018 Pakistani general election. These factors will reduce overall risk profile of CPEC projects."

The Fitch report acknowledges the completion of eleven CPEC projects termed "early harvest". It says that despite major media and political scrutiny regarding CPEC, this progress on projects highlights Beijing’s improving track record in project execution and its commitment to infrastructure development in Pakistan. As a result of CPEC progress, a total of 3,240MW of capacity has been added to the country’s national grid, constituting over 11% of total installed capacity in Pakistan. Also highlighted in the report is the 392 kilometer Multan to Sukkur section of the Peshawar-Karachi motorway, a key CPEC project which is over 80% complete and is slated to finish by August this year.

Fitch believes political risks associated with CPEC projects have diminished. "Previously, we noted that the transition in power from Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) posed a downside risk to the Pakistani construction industry as new Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to review Chinese-backed projects, which could potentially have led to project delays and cancellations. However, the political situation in Pakistan has since stabilized and Prime Minister Imran Khan has demonstrated willingness to cooperate with China on multiple issues including CPEC. As such, we are in the view that downside risks stemming from political uncertainty are diminishing, and bilateral projects spearheaded by CPEC, will receive a boost in terms of policy implementation and project continuity," maintained the report.

In another recent report, Fitch's competitor Moody's has acknowledged that rermittances from Pakistan diaspora rose by 10% year on year to $10.71 billion in the first half of fiscal 2019, while goods imports slowed sharply to around 3% year on year as non-energy imports contracted.

Moody's expects "the current-account deficit to narrow to 4.7% of GDP in fiscal 2019 and to 4.2% in fiscal 2020 from 6.1% in fiscal 2018, it will remain sizable and wider than in 2013-16, driving Pakistan’s external financing needs. The government has secured $12 billion in financing from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in each case amounting to $6 billion and divided equally between deposits and deferred oil payments – which is likely to largely cover the country’s net financing needs for fiscal 2019".

Construction industry is a major driver of economies. The sector creates new jobs, builds housing and infrastructure, drives economic growth, and provides solutions to address social, climate and energy challenges, according to the World Economic Forum. The construction industry has important linkages with other sectors such as cement, steel, energy, furniture, household appliances, etc.  The construction industry's impact on GDP and economic development goes well beyond the direct contribution of construction activities.

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Riaz Haq said…
For the critics of CPEC projcts' hiring practices, here's a Washington Post story of what Chinese workers have done in India:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102303956.html


Clad in blue overalls, 1,600 Chinese supervisors, technicians and other laborers work at the 2,000-acre site. The $1.7 billion factory, which also relies on Chinese technology, employs 5,000 Indian workers.

Skilled Chinese workers are helping India expand its infrastructure at a frenetic pace, even as the two Asian giants compete for economic dominance.

Their presence in a nation of more than a billion people with staggering unemployment may appear incongruent. But the government says Indian workers lack the technical skilled needed to transform the country into a 21st-century economic powerhouse.

Until the gap is bridged, companies are relying on the expertise of Chinese workers to build mega infrastructure projects. Chinese workers have worked on ports, highways, power and steel plants in India. Chinese equipment and expertise have also been used in a crude oil refinery, a cable-supported bridge, the telecommunication networks and even the glass facade of the new airport terminal in New Delhi.

"India may be an IT superpower and producing thousands of doctors, lawyers and MBAs every year. But the biggest gap is in the availability of skilled electricians, carpenters, welders, mechanics and masons who can build mega infrastructure projects," said Raghav Gupta, president at Technopak, a consultancy that released a report on skill development last year. "Most of these workers have to be trained on the job. And that often delays the projects and makes it more expensive."

As the center of economic gravity shifts from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, analysts say, the world's two fastest growing economies will transfer even more technology and skills.

Fears of displacement

The Chinese workers in labor-surplus India prompted an outcry last year, and India clamped down by making visa rules stricter. About 25,000 workers had to leave dozens of projects midway and return to China because they were on business visas and not worker visas. Construction at 14 power plants was affected.

"We have no problems if . . . Chinese workers skilled in specialized functions come to India. We just don't want them to displace Indian workers by doing the jobs that Indians can do," said G. K. Pillai, India's home secretary, who said there are a little over 15,000 Chinese laborers in India now.

Diplomatic relations between the two nations, who have fought a war and have lingering territorial disputes, have remained testy. In recent years, Indian officials have expressed concerns about China's close ties with Pakistan, India's arch rival.

------------
The Chinese live in a row of air-conditioned pre-fab rooms and have Chinese cooks. Some say they find the Indian heat unbearable; others complain that the Internet speed is too slow for streaming Chinese movies. Sometimes, they go into the villages for an under-the-tree haircut or for the locally brewed toddy.
Riaz Haq said…
JPMorgan, CLSA vie for $2 billion #Pakistan #power sale of National Power Parks Management Co., state-owned firm that owns and runs #LNG-fired 1,230-megawatt Haveli Bahadur Shah plant and the 1,223-megawatt Balloki plant. #Privatization https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-14/jpmorgan-clsa-said-to-vie-for-2-billion-pakistan-power-sale via @technology

JPMorgan Chase & Co., CLSA and Credit Suisse Group AG are among foreign banks pitching for a role on Pakistan’s biggest privatization in over a decade, which could raise around $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The government’s sale of two LNG-fired power plants could draw interest from Chinese and Middle Eastern investors, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Pakistan received about 10 bids from groups seeking a financial advisory role and expects to pick banks by the end of March, another person said.




Citigroup Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc made their own separate proposals, while Lazard Ltd. is pitching with Pakistani brokerage Next Capital Ltd., the people said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is pursuing a divestment that would rank as one of the biggest-ever mergers and acquisitions in Pakistan, as he seeks to bridge a financing gap of more than $12 billion and avoid a balance-of-payments crisis. The nation has secured loans from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and is close to a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Privatization Push
Pakistan is selling National Power Parks Management Co., the state-owned firm that owns and runs the 1,230-megawatt Haveli Bahadur Shah plant and the 1,223-megawatt Balloki plant. Both plants started operations in the past two years. The government has said it aims to complete the privatization of the power assets in the financial year ending June 30.


The sale would rank as Pakistan’s largest privatization since 2006, when Emirates Telecommunications Group Co. bought a $2.6 billion stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Co. in the country’s biggest-ever M&A transaction, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The power plant divestment is set to become Pakistan’s largest privatization in the energy sector, according to government figures dating back to 1991.

Pak Brunei Investment Co. is also pitching for a role on the power plant divestments in a group with Zeeruk International Pvt, the people said. BMA Capital Management Ltd. and CPCS Transcom Ltd. have submitted a joint proposal, according to Salman Virani, head of investment banking at BMA Capital.

Habib Bank Ltd. and China International Capital Corp. are partnering with JPMorgan, a representative for Habib Bank said in response to Bloomberg queries. CLSA submitted a joint proposal with Bank Alfalah Ltd. and their local brokerage venture, while Credit Suisse is pitching together with Pakistan’s Elixir Securities Ltd., the people said.

A representative for the Pakistan’s Privatisation Commission said the government has no comment. Representatives for CICC, Citigroup, CLSA, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Standard Chartered, Elixir Securities and Next Capital also declined to comment. Representatives for Lazard, Bank Alfalah, Pak Brunei and Zeeruk didn’t immediately respond to queries.
Riaz Haq said…
#China Giving #Pakistan $3.5 Billion in #Loans, #Grants. #Beijing will soon deposit $2.5 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), raising to $4.5 billion the total amount in commercial loans China has given Pakistan this fiscal year. #CPEC https://www.voanews.com/a/china-giving-billions-to-pakistan-in-loans-grants/4788478.html

Officials say the Chinese government has also promised a grant of $1 billion for education, health, vocational training, drinking water and poverty alleviation projects over the next three years.

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said Chinese experts are due to arrive in Islamabad later this month to coordinate socio-economic development under the promised grant.

Pakistan's foreign currency exchange remains under severe pressure, despite receiving around $2 billion from China and $4 billion from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in commercial loan deposits.

SBP reserves stood at $8.2 billion last week, barely enough to cover two months' worth of imports.

China's CPEC

In the last six years, China has made significant financial contributions to direct investment, soft loans and commercial deposits to help its close ally, Pakistan, overcome severe economic challenges.

Under its Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing has invested $19 billion in Pakistan to build and improve road infrastructure and power plants and opened the strategic Arabian Sea port of Gwadar. Beijing has also given Islamabad concessional loans for some projects under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The cooperation deal has created more than 70,000 jobs for Pakistanis and quickly resolved the country's chronic energy crisis. But investments from China had stopped because all major projects under CPEC will be complete by the end of this year.

Chinese and Pakistani officials say preparations are under way to launch the next phase of CPEC in coming weeks to construct nine special economic zones across Pakistan.

Beijing plans to relocate some of its industries by transferring technology to the new industrial zones to help Islamabad increase its exports to overcome its massive trade deficit and shore up cash reserves.

CPEC has "changed the image of Pakistan" and encouraged other countries to invest in the country, notes veteran opposition Senator Mushahid Hussain, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament. He praised China for being the only country to bring unprecedented, massive investments to Pakistan five years ago when other nations were reluctant to do so due to terrorism-related security concerns and political considerations.
Riaz Haq said…
#Malaysian Leader in #Pakistan to Sign $900M #Investment deals in #informationtechnology and #telecom sectors. . #MahathirMohamad will also be the chief guest at the #PakistanDayParade. #technology https://www.voanews.com/a/malaysian-leader-in-pakistan-to-sign-900m-in-investment-deals-/4841609.html

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrived Thursday in Pakistan on an official three-day visit, where his high-powered delegation is expected to finalize investment deals worth nearly $900 million, officials said.

The Malaysian leader will also be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day military parade Saturday, the Foreign Ministry announced.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's adviser on commerce told reporters that business leaders accompanying Mahathir would sign three memorandums of understanding on Friday covering up to $900 million worth of investments in information technology and telecom sectors.

The adviser, Razak Dawood, said the deals with Malaysia would also provide Pakistan a new opening toward membership in the Association of South East Asian Nations. He said Malaysian businessmen had also indicated they would like to invest in other sectors, including energy and textiles, to help Pakistan improve its exports.

Officials said that Malaysia's Proton carmaker signed an agreement late last year with a Pakistani partner to set up an assembly plant in the southern city of Karachi that would be its first facility in South Asia. Khan and his Malaysian counterpart are expected to officiate at a symbolic groundbreaking of the Proton plant Friday.

Looking for investors

Since taking office last August, Khan has approached nations that have warm relations with Pakistan, including China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malaysia, to bring investment and financial deposits to help reduce a widening current account deficit and shore up foreign reserves.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deposited or are in the process of depositing $6 billion in loans in recent months. The two countries have also agreed to allow Islamabad to import oil on deferred payments. China is expected to deposit more than $2 billion in the next few days.

Beijing has invested more than $19 billion over the past six years in energy and infrastructure projects under what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative.

Last month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Islamabad and signed investment agreements worth $20 billion, including a $10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southwestern port city of Gwadar.

Pakistani officials say they are also close to securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package reportedly of up to $12 billion.

Riaz Haq said…
#Lahore-Abdul Hakeem (near #Multan) Motorway (4-lane 230 Km M3) opens for general public . #Sukkur-Multan Motorway ( 6-lane 395 Km M5) to be operational by August 2019. #Pakistan #Motorways

https://www.pakwheels.com/blog/lahore-abdul-hakeem-motorway-opens-for-general-public/

The Government of Pakistan has finally opened Lahore-Abdul Hakeem Motorway for the general public from 1st April 2019. It was inaugurated by Governor Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar on 31st March 2019. This new section of the motorway will reduce travel distance between Multan and Lahore making life easy for the commuters.

Note here that the total cost of this M3 section is around PKR 149 billion. It’s a six-lane motorway with eight interchanges over 40 bridges, 60 underpasses, three service stations, etc. The assigned speed at the newly opened motorway is 120 Km/h. It is also being termed as model motorway as Intelligent Transport System (ITS) has been installed on this new section.

It will ensure smooth traffic flow on the motorway, moreover, will handle all the emergencies occurring on the motorway. LED screens have been placed throughout the section, additionally, weigh system, and electronic toll collection has been introduced. Cameras have been deployed for monitoring vehicles.

Previous:

The Government of Pakistan has decided to open Abdul Hakeem-Lahore Motorway (M3) on 31-3-2019.

According to the details, the total length of the motorway is 230 kilometers which will cut down your commute time by two hours from Abdul Hakeem to Lahore and vice versa. PakWheels contacted an official of Motorway, and he confirmed that the Lahore-Abdul Hakeem motorway section would open for vehicles on 31 March 2019. Previously, it was scheduled to open in January; however, due to unknown reasons, it was delayed.

This project was started back in 2015 and was officially inaugurated by previous Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in 2018. According to a security analyst, this particular project is significant keeping in view the objectives of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Read Also: 12 Driving tips to keep you safe on the motorway during fog

Moreover, an official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) while speaking to the local media said that with the completion of over 70 percent of the total work, Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M5) would get operational by August 2019. This 392 km long project started back in August 2016. When completed, this project will be a huge step towards developing a stronger Pakistani economy keeping in line with CPEC goals.
Riaz Haq said…
Second CPEC phase to boost industrial cooperation

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2022908/2-second-cpec-phase-boost-industrial-cooperation/

The second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is very important for Pakistan as it will give a boost to industrial cooperation and give birth to Special Economic Zones (SEZs), remarked Sichuan University Deputy Dean International Studies Professor Dr Song Zhihui.

Speaking at the ICCI, Song stressed that the setting up of SEZs would in turn create new opportunities for entrepreneurs of both countries for forming joint ventures and investing in areas of interest.

“The first phase of CPEC focused on energy and infrastructure development in Pakistan while the second phase will focus on industrial cooperation, which will yield beneficial results for the economy of Pakistan,” he said.

“Several companies of China are interested in investing and setting up factories in Pakistan because it is the best place for them.” He expressed the desire to organise a tourism promotion conference for Pakistan in a bid to highlight its tourism potential.

Song added that China was eager to enhance imports from Pakistan, which would uplift Pakistan’s exports. He urged the ICCI to cooperate in connecting right partners with Chinese counterparts in SEZs and other areas.

Speaking to the delegation, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said the establishment of SEZs in Pakistan under CPEC would kick off a new phase of business opportunities in the country.

He asked Chinese companies to enter Pakistan with technology transfer for joint ventures and investment.

“Due to the growing population and emerging market, many sectors of Pakistan’s economy offer immense potential for investment and Chinese companies should benefit from these emerging opportunities,” he said.


Riaz Haq said…
China’s CPEC Is Leading To Hot Real Estate In Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones

https://www.valuewalk.com/2019/07/pakistan-special-economic-zones/

According to Beijing, the provision of such extraordinary facilities aim to provide these countries; including Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Armenia, Siri Lanka, Jamaica, Nigeria, Sudan, Malaysia, and Pakistan (which occupies the center stage for CPEC’s execution), with a coherent and productive real estate, energy, agricultural, and business infrastructure.

With massive infrastructural developments underway, the economic corridor project has already supplemented real estate demand in Pakistan. And investors in the country foresee a continual expansion of road and rail network, development of special economic zones, as well as power projects under the CPEC umbrella.

Similarly, real estate agents have become more optimistic about the speculative value of land in Gwadar and other parts of the country. Moreover, numerous local property portals have recorded an increase in property demand across the country in recent years – a trend which serves to highlight the positive impact of the CPEC initiative on Pakistan’s property market.

Facilitating the creation of an efficient infrastructure

Both the countries have pledged to pursue multiple energy and infrastructure projects on a joint venture basis. To help solve the energy crisis in Pakistan, China is working on 21 power plants and hydropower projects, some of which include:

1,320MW fuel power plant in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab
1,320MW coal-fired power plant in Hub, Balochistan
2x660MW coal-fired power plant in Sahiwal, Punjab
2x660MW coal-fired power plant at Port Qasim in Karachi, Sindh
Kohala Hydel Project in Kohala, Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Suki Kinari Hydropower Station in Naran, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Moreover, China is becoming increasingly involved in the construction of a state-of-the-art network of roads in Pakistan to facilitate the good transport activities. Many of these projects were recently completed and inaugurated, including:

Karakoram Highway Phase II
Peshawar-Karachi Motorway
Expansion and restoration of Pakistan Railways’ Mainline-1
Upgradation of Dera Ismail Khan–Zhob Road
Quetta Mass Transit
Greater Peshawar Region Mass Transit
Karachi Circular Railway
Orange Line Metro Train - Lahore
Similarly, the projects planned exclusively for Gwadar include:

New Gwadar International Airport
Free Zones
Gwadar East-Bay Expressway
Gwadar University
Pak-China Friendship Hospital
Technical and vocational institutes
While the plans on development of special economic zones in the country are also extensive:

Special Economic Zone in Mirpur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Marble City in Mohmand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Special Economic Zone in Moqpondass, Gilgit-Baltistan
ICT Model Industrial Zone, Islamabad
Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Faisalabad, Punjab
China Special Economic Zone in Dhabeji, Sindh
Rashakai Economic Zone in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
By providing an efficient infrastructure, China aims to create an enabling environment for global trade connectivity. But, these ambitious plans have also invited scepticism from several countries, with the US particularly critical of Beijing’s ‘debt diplomacy’.

As per a BBC report, China has repeatedly tried to address the concerns and criticism surrounding its OBOR project; saying that the sweeping infrastructure initiative doesn’t contain an agenda for geostrategic supremacy; rather it focuses on efforts to develop a global community with a shared future for mankind.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's Miracle Motorway - the Multan-Sukkur

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201908/14/WS5d53d0ada310cf3e35565c24.html

On the banks of the Chenab River sits Pakistan's 7th largest city, Multan. The air on July 24 was as humid as any other summer day, only this time, the residents awoke to an unprecedented level of activity. The major cultural and economic center of southern Punjab was now connected to surrounding regions by the Motorway 5.

Inaugurated on May 6, 2016, the M5 mega project was developed as part of a pilot project for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under the framework of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with a total investment of around $2.89 billion.

The strategically-placed six-lane M5 starts from Multan and connects Jalalpur, Peerwala, Ahmed Pur East, Rahimyar Khan, Sadiqabad, Ubaro, Pano Aqil and finishes at Sukkur. The 392-kilometer M5 Sukkur-Multan Motorway is a part of the country's Peshawar-Karachi Motorway. It is designed for speeds of up to 120 km. The motorway has 12 service areas, 10 rest areas, 11 interchanges, 10 flyovers, and 426 underpasses.

The project is particularly significant since it has been constructed to resist flooding with the help of the latest technology and methods, including the Intelligent Traffic System. It is equipped with FM broadcasting, 360-degree angle monitoring, WIFI in service areas and ample night lighting.

Sukkur-Multan Motorway relied on domestically produced materials and goods such as 60 million bricks, 6 million tiles, 1 million tons of cement, 9,200 sets of machines and tools and created more than 29,000 jobs for locals during construction. The M5 also enables residents to improve their standard of living by connecting schools, small bridges, avenues, wells and water channels.

CPEC projects have largely helped Pakistan overcome economic constraints, attracting large funds as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The world has begun ranking Pakistan among the top potential economic powers of the future, with a recent World Bank report listing Pakistan among the top 15 emerging economies of the globe.

Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said they appreciate China's contribution towards Pakistan's economic progress in the form of CPEC, which is an attractive reflection of the Pakistan-China strategic partnership.

At an opening ceremony held in Multan, National Highway Authority (NHA) M5 General Manager Muhammad Naseem Arif said the motorway is very impressive in terms of its quality and construction.

Authorities worked closely with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and overcame a number of difficulties so that they could complete the large project within three years.

Li Ganchun, chief of the M5 project from the CSCEC, appreciated the security provided by the Pakistani side, saying that the M5 will help Pakistan connect its northern and southern regions, improve the country's transportation and facilitate social economic development in the region along the motorway.

CPEC appears like a miracle for Pakistan's ailing economy. According to Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, CPEC has generated around 75,000 direct and indirect jobs - but this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. A recent World Bank report has claimed that at the current pace, CPEC will create more than one million jobs in Pakistan by the year 2030.

Since Prime Minister Imran Khan has refocused on establishing vocational training institutes and Special Economic Zones across the country, millions of new high- and low-end jobs are expected to be created due to economic activities generated by the CPEC.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #cement sales go up by 2.56pc in first quarter of FY 2019-20. In September, total dispatches increased by 11.51 percent to 4.270 million tons. Domestic sales increased to 9.116m tons from 9.063m tons while #exports grew by 12.54pc to 2.017m tons https://nation.com.pk/20-Oct-2019/cement-dispatches-go-up-by-2-56pc-in-first-quarter

Pakistan’s total cement dispatches during first quarter of the fiscal year went up by 2.56 percent to 11.133 million tons. Out of total sales, local dispatches increased to 9.116m tons from 9.063m tons while exports grew by 12.54pc to 2.017m tons from 1.792m in the last fiscal year. In September, total dispatches increased by 11.51 percent to 4.270 million tons compared to the corresponding period last year. During the month, domestic consumption reached 3.472m tons from 3.114 million tons during the same month last year. Exports rose to 0.798 million tons last month as compared to 0.715 million tons in September 2018. Local consumption in the northern region during the month under review swelled by 22.4pc to 3.027m tons from 2.47 million tons in September 2018. The southern region witnessed 30.48pc drop in dispatches to 0.446m tons from 0.64 million tons in September 2018. Industry experts said the lopsided consumption pattern has benefited plants located in the northern region while those operating in the south have entered the red zone in view of over 32 percent drop in uptake during the first quarter of this fiscal year. They said the country has the potential to produce about 60 million tons of cement per year. Recently, a cement company has closed its old plant, which had production capacity of 3,150 tons per day. The government has given tax benefits on the introduction of new technology in cement plants. At present, the interest rate in Pakistan is so high that no one is considering starting a new business.
Riaz Haq said…
PM #ImranKhan: PROMOTING #CONSTRUCTION WILL BOOST #PAKISTAN’S #ECONOMY. INDUSTRIES LINKED TO CONSTRUCTION WILL PROSPER AND RESULT IN GREATER #JOB OPPORTUNITIES. Rs. 25 billion allocated for Pakistan #Housing Authority #cement #steel #transport #engineering https://www.newsweekpakistan.com/promoting-construction-sector-will-boost-pakistans-economy-p-m-khan/

Chairing a meeting about the construction sector in Islamabad, Khan designated its promotion yet another “topmost” priority of his government—he has already designated tourism, children’s rights, eradication of polio, and corruption, among others, ‘topmost’ priorities—adding that this would boost 40 linked industries and spur job creation. Khan said he was aware that people were experiencing financial difficulties due to rampant inflation, but said the government was making efforts to offset this by accelerating economic and business activities.

The prime minister said the government had decided, in principle, to accord the construction sector with the status of ‘industry,’ claiming this would increase the facilities available to it. He also directed the Competitive Commission of Pakistan to take measures to halt the creation of cartels that set unrealistic prices of raw materials related to the construction industry.

Adviser to the P.M. on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh informed Khan during the meeting that sufficient progress had been made to address problems of the construction sector following meetings with the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) and other stakeholders. Shaikh said the government had also, as a first phase, allocated Rs. 25 billion for the Pakistan Housing Authority to promote the construction sector even further.

The meeting was also informed that consensus had been achieved on the future policy regarding fixed income tax for industries. In light of P.M. Khan’s desire to see a vertical growth in Pakistan’s cities, the meeting also reaffirmed that a policy on construction of high-rise buildings had been formulated and endorsed by the federal cabinet. Regarding the valuation of immovable properties, officials said the Federal Board of Revenue would appoint a regional valuation committee next week that would include the expertise of ABAD and the real estate sector.

The prime minister also directed the adviser on finance to request the superior judiciary to constitute a special bench for quick disposal of pending cases regarding real estate and construction sectors. He endorsed a proposal to promote a compliance regime instead of the existing No Objection Certificate system.

Discussing a proposal concerning the provision of state land for construction purposes, Khan declared it an important part of the government’s policy to utilize government property for construction projects targeting the low-income sector. He also agreed with a proposal to include the representatives of ABAD in regulatory bodies related to construction.

In addition to the prime minister and finance adviser, the meeting was also attended by Naya Pakistan Housing Authority Chairman Anwar Ali Haider; a representative of the Association of Builders and Developers, and other senior officials.
Riaz Haq said…
PM #ImranKhan announces incentives for #construction sector in #Pakistan: Rs 30 billion cash subsidies, no questions on #investment money source, lower #taxes, create jobs amid #coronavirus #lockdown. #NayaPakistan #housing #cement #steel #economy https://www.dawn.com/news/1546154/pm-imran-announces-incentives-for-construction-sector-elevates-it-to-industry

All the people investing in the construction sector this year will not be questioned about their source of income.

The tax rate will be fixed for the construction sector, and constructors will be charged tax per square foot or square yard.

People carrying out construction in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme for the poor will only have to pay 10 per cent of the fixed tax.

Withholding tax will be waived off for all construction sectors except the formal sectors of steel and cement.

Sales tax will be reduced in coordination with provinces.

Any family selling their house will not have to pay any capital gains tax.

A subsidy of Rs30 billion to be given for the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.

Construction sector to be given the status of an industry.

Construction Industry Development Board to be set up to support the sector.
Riaz Haq said…
Top CPEC Official @AsimSBajwa : Second phase of #CPEC crucial for #Pakistan's development: It has special emphasis on #agriculture, #industry, #trade, and #science and #technology. Just completed first phase was about #power and #infrastructure. #China http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/07/c_139038471.htm

The second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is crucial for the economic development of Pakistan, local media quoted Chairman of CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa as saying on Thursday.

The second phase of the multi-billion-dollar economic cooperation between Pakistan and China will have a special emphasis on agriculture, industry, trade, and science and technology, Bajwa said in an interaction with local media.

He said that the Pakistani government's priority about the second phase of CPEC is to make special economic zones functional, besides development projects in Gwadar, according to the report.

Bajwa, who also holds the additional position of the special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on information and broadcasting, said that work for the completion of CPEC is in progress on a fast pace.

"There is no political hindrance in its way. The project is Pakistan's future as well as a tangible reality and no compromise will be made on it," local media quoted the official as saying.

Bajwa said Pakistan takes decisions which are within the best interest of the country and there is a political consensus that CPEC is the best for the interest of the country and for that matter "no external pressure against CPEC will be accepted," according to the report.

Many projects focusing on infrastructure and energy sectors in the first phase of CPEC have been completed and are already operational, and work on the second phase is underway. Enditem
Riaz Haq said…
BMA forecasts #Pakistan #cement sector revival, backed by initiation of #ImranKhan's Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and #construction package. Sees return to prosperity with 5% growth in FY21 (last 6 months) and 7-8% growth after that as #lockdown ends. https://www.cemnet.com/News/story/168992/return-to-prosperity-forecast-for-pakistan-s-cement-sector.html

Pakistan's cement industry is likely to prosper in the coming months, due to some positive developments at the local and international level, anticipated by three of Pakistan's leading research houses.

BMA Capital Management forecasts that the cement sector is showing signs of revival, backed by initiation of the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and construction package announced by the government. Moreover, the easing of lockdowns has raised hopes for improved cement dispatches in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Al Habib Capital Markets states that cement dispatches are estimated to increase modestly due to the gradual easing of lockdowns and the possible announcement of relief measures in the Budget FY21, aimed at increasing construction-related activities.

In addition, Intermarket Securities adds that, despite a slow demand outlook, cement sector profitability is likely to resurge in FY21/22. This would be due to key supporting factors, such as lower international oil and coal prices (energy cost savings) and a steep decline in interest rates by the Central Bank of Pakistan.

It estimated that cement demand and prices will rebound strongly from the 2HFY21 onwards, when the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be more manageable. Thus, the government will likely have more fiscal space to push construction activity – especially the low-cost housing scheme.

Intermarket Securities has upgraded the estimates for the cement industry, in light of the steep declines in international coal and oil prices, and the abrupt and significant cuts in interest rates in Pakistan. Lower coal prices (down 26 per cent YoY in the 4QFY20) is a boon, as coal remains the most significant input cost, along with a shift to furnace oil for power. Secondly, the decrease in interest rate by 525bps will drastically reduce finance costs and boost the bottom-line.

The analytical company, however, remains conservative on its demand growth outlook until the end-1HFY20. It foresees a five per cent YoY growth in FY21 (last six months) and 7-8 per cent YoY growth in the ensuing years. Whereas, during FY19/20 the sector saw intense price competition, where even the major players pushed sales at low prices. It believed that the government could have better fiscal space to push infrastructure from the 2HFY20 onwards. Thus, cement prices will start recovering more strongly.

It anticipated that retail prices will rise to PKR610/bag (US$3.75) in the north and PKR700/bag in the south by the end of FY21, from PKR480/bag and PKR620/bag, respectively, in March 2020.

Having said that, the risks of lower cement prices and depressed demand had not been wholly allayed. Weakness can emanate from the lack of an increase in government spending from FY20 levels (flattish budget allocation or PSDP), a delay in the start of low-cost housing schemes or a concurrent slowdown in exports. Prolonged lockdown conditions could also lead to severe liquidity issues for some producers.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan PM #ImranKhan unveils Rs. 330 billion for low-cost #housing incentives, including down payment assistance, low-cost #mortgage financing and Sharia-compliant loans. Banks to set aside 5% of portfolios for mortgage lending. #NayaPakistanHousing https://tribune.com.pk/story/2254544/pm-imran-unveils-mortgage-financing-plan-to-revive-virus-hit-economy

Prime Minister Imran Khan has made another move to revive the coronavirus-hit economy with an initiative to promote the housing and construction sector with Rs330 billion of mortgage financing by the commercial banks in just 18 months.

The prime minister himself unveiled the plan for the revival of the construction sector after a maiden meeting of the newly formed National Coordination Committee on Housing and Construction on Friday.

Commenting on the government's initiative, a leading property developer and businessman Ejaz Gohar said that it was the first plan, which would make it affordable for the low and middle income people to build houses with mortgage financing of as low as 5 to 7% mark-up.

The commercial banks would allocate 5% of their portfolio amounting to Rs330 billion for the construction activities.

He noted that around Rs20 trillion was circulating in the informal unregistered economy and now was the opportunity for the people to get the huge amount of money declared by investing in the real estate sector by December 31, 2020.

Now a person with an income of Rs30,000 to Rs100,000 can build a house of 5-marla with the mortgage financing at 5% and that of 10-marla at 7% mark-up.

Gohar observed that mortgage financing started in the United States 82 years back to kick-start its economy. The government will give a subsidy of Rs30 billion for the construction of houses.

The prime minister has planned to hold meetings of the housing coordination committee every week to remove hurdles that come in the way as the country is far behind in terms of home mortgage financing as compared to the developed world.

As Covid-19 had hit hard the global economy, Pakistan too suffered a great deal due to the pandemic with rise in unemployment and shutting down of businesses, the government's measures for the construction sector would be a much needed timely relief.

Many economically strong countries like China, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain were forced to impose strict lockdowns spread over months to contain the cases of Covid-19. However, economically fragile countries like Pakistan were caught in a dilemma as the option of complete lockdown was a recipe for disaster, especially for the vulnerable section of the society which comprised a significant portion of the country’s population.

Prime Minister Imran Khan – known for his leadership qualities since his cricketing days – went for a policy of smart lockdown, balancing the need to halt the spread of coronavirus and keep different sectors of the economy functional simultaneously.

The strategy largely worked and the primary sectors of economy are now open with the number of coronavirus cases after hitting the peak are lowering on a daily basis.

In order to deal with the adverse effects of Covid-19, the government had announced a relief package worth Rs1.2 trillion on March 24.

An important component of Pakistan's economic revival plan was the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Despite hurdles, Pakistan and China went ahead with the second phase of the mega project during the last two years. After undertaking of the infrastructure, road and energy projects across Pakistan in the first phase, the focus was shifted to the building of eight special economic zones and socioeconomic and human development with the Chinese financial assistance of $1 billion.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government established the CPEC Authority and appointed Lt General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa as it head.

Bajwa set his sights on executing vital projects, including M8 motorway from Gwadar (Balochistan) to Ratodero (Sindh) and $230 million Gwadar international airport.
Riaz Haq said…
#PAKISTAN - #Cement price up by Rs55/bag in Punjab, KP. Big difference in prices in north (Rs 505-525/bag) & south (Rs. 650/bag) regions..."we can call it that the cement sector has reached up to its old price level from where it declined.” #construction https://www.intercem.com/Intercem-Insights/News/ArtMID/683/ArticleID/1851/PAKISTAN-Cement-prices-raised-by-Rs55-per-bag-in-Punjab-KP#.Xw0C0wBNcFA.twitter

Pakistan cement manufacturers on Wednesday increased cement wholesale prices by upto Rs55/bag (or $0.375) in northern region (Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), cement dealers confirmed to The News.



This increase would be effective from the today (Thursday). In South regions (Sindh and Balochistan) the prices have been kept unchanged, the reason being its prices are already much higher than north region. With this hike, cement prices in north region stands at average of Rs505-525 per bag.



Mohammad Ali Tabba, Chief Executive Officer of the Lucky Cement Limited, when contacted said, “Since start of March 2020, and after approval of the Ordinance, cement demand has recovered up to 90 percent, and in the north region it has recovered full demand and has even achieved 10 percent more over the last year.”



Regarding the price hike, he said that since demand for cement had eroded in first two months (Jan-Feb), while at the same time, three manufacturers including our company had made expansion in their capacities, this pushed the prices to as low as Rs450/bag in north region from earlier Rs550 to 600/bag.



He said, “We cannot say it an increase in prices, but we can call it that the cement sector has reached up to its old price level from where it declined.” He said that the manufacturers have increased the prices in the range of Rs45 to 55/bag. Our company has increased the price by Rs50 in north region.



It is worth mentioning that there is a huge difference in the prices of cement in north and south regions. Average price in south is Rs650/bag, while in north region it is now around Rs505 t0 525/bag.



A cement dealer in Islamabad told The News that the senior companies’ representatives held the meeting and they have decided the price hike. He said that Fauji cement has increased its price by Rs45/bag while all other brands including Lucky Cement, Cherat Cement, DG Khan Cement and other producers in north region have increased the prices by Rs55/bag each. He said, “After this package, the demand for construction materials has increased.”

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