Pakistan 1st Plastic Road to Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Loans’ up; Infocus Weekly Review

by M. Wasim

12 December 2021

Pakistan 1st Plastic Road gets Functional

Pakistan has inaugurated it’s first-ever road made from plastic waste in Islamabad. The carpeting of the road using plastic waste is part of the ‘World Without Plastic’ Programme, and the one kilometer stretch was inaugurated by the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. The project, for which 10 tons of plastic bottles were utilized, has been implemented jointly by Coca-Cola, National Incubation Centre and CDA.

The objective of the project is to protect the environment and in the first ever plastic road project, a patch of 1 km-long of Ataturk Avenue was carpeted with plastic mixed bitumen. It must be noted that several countries of the world have already constructed a number of plastic roads. These roads are imperative to reduce dust, which has been a source of poor air quality.

Loans up under Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar

According to data of State Bank of Pakistan, disbursement of low-cost housing loans jumped by 80% in the first five months of the current fiscal year. The uptick is apparently due to an increasing burden of warning by the State SBP to banks for meeting targets or face penalties.

The data showed that the disbursement for Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Scheme (MPMG) was just Rs32 million at the end of December 2020. On July 15, 2020, the SBP fixed a mandatory target for banks to extend mortgage loans and financing for developers and builders while the banks will be required to increase their housing and construction of building loan portfolios to at least 5% of their private sector credit by the end of December 2021. The central bank also decided to impose penalties on banks falling short of their G-MSS targets.

The progress was extremely slow initially as it reached Rs5.223bn at the end of June 2021. But the disbursement increased by Rs23.5bn during the July-November period.

FBR defers New Property Valuations

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) this week deferred the new valuations for taxation until January 16, 2022 in the wake of an extraordinary rise in property rates and complaints from real estate stakeholders. On December 1 the FBR revised upwards the property valuations for the purpose of taxation in 40 major cities of the country to bring them on a par with market rates. It received complaints from across the country from various stakeholders, including real estate agents and town developers, about an extraordinary rise in property rates resulting from the recently notified property valuation.

A parliamentary panel also ordered withdrawal of 100-700% increase in valuation of immovable properties in the country for the purpose of tax collection notified by the FBR. Although the FBR Chairman Dr Ashfaq Ahmad told before the panel that the FBR had set best possible property evaluation in the given circumstances. But the panel directed the FBR to come up with a revised valuation table in consultation with all the stakeholders within 15 days.

Cement Sales increases in November

According to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association cement sales jumped 7% year-on-year to 4.82 million tons in the month of November.

As North-based mills dispatched 3.469m ton in the domestic markets as against 3.129m tons in November last year, showing a rise of 11%. While mills based in the southern region sold 654,983 tons in the local market, an increase of 7% compared to 613,113 tons a year ago.

However, cement exports from Northern region mills plummeted 70% to 55,234 tons in November from 182,091 tons in the same month last year. But the exports from the southern mills went up by 9.65% to 640,545 tons in November from 584,182 tons during the same month last year.

The retail price of cement in November averaged at Rs734 per 50 kg bag in the northern region, an increase of 4% compared to October. In the southern region, the average retail price jumped by Rs29 per bag to Rs749.

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