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Pakistan’s first waste-to...
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Key reforms for Pakistan’...
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  Pakistan’s first waste-to-energy plant with 40-megawatt Production Capacity
Posted by: LRE-Azan - Yesterday 04:26 PM - No Replies

Pakistan’s first waste-to-energy plant with 40-megawatt production capacity

ISLAMABAD: In line with efforts to promote renewable and domestic resources of energy, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has approved the grant of power generation licence to Lahore Xingzhong Renewable Energy Company Limited.

The company will set up Pakistan’s first waste-to-energy plant with 40-megawatt production capacity in Lakhodair, Lahore district. It will deploy a state-of-the-art incineration-type generation facility and the most suitable waste-to-energy technology.

“The project will reduce the city’s municipal solid waste by 2,000 tons a day to generate electricity and is seen as a silver bullet to address the municipality’s waste issue and meet energy needs,” said a statement issued on Monday.
In this regard, Nepra has already announced an upfront tariff of 10.007 US cents per kilowatt-hour for waste-to-energy projects based on an operational period of 25 years with overall capacity cap of 250MW.


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  Key reforms for Pakistan’s real estate sector hit a snag
Posted by: LRE-Azan - Yesterday 04:22 PM - No Replies

Pakistan’s efforts to curb the use of black money in the real estate sector, and enhance its tax collection have been dealt a serious blow. The country’s bureaucracy has halted implementation on two key reforms, which were introduced by the last PML-N government.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has delayed the notification for the establishment of Directorate General of Immovable Properties that could have given authorities the first right to acquire assets that were undervalued to evade taxes. It has also not increased the property valuation rates in big cities as an alternate to the DG Immovable Properties. But the FBR says that it alone cannot take these measures and will require support from the four provinces.

These two reforms had been introduced by former finance minister Ishaq Dar and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to crack down against practices that became the cause of use of black money in the real estate sector.

The former premier had taken a courageous step and introduced the concept of pre-emption right through the Finance Act 2018 that came into effect from July 1. As an incentive, Abbasi had also lowered the tax rates on purchase and sale of properties, ranging from 1% to 4%, to only 1% of the gross value of the property. Both these measures were planned to come into force at once.

The scheme entitles the government to purchase any asset – residential or commercial – at 100% higher price than the one declared by the owner at the time of registration. The move is meant to control under-declaration of asset values at the time of registration.

At present, there are three rates of one property. One is the actual price, the second is Deputy Collector (DC) rates of the provinces, and the third is FBR valuation rates that are higher than the DC rates but lower than market rates. The buyers use undeclared assets to pay the difference between the actual market and the FBR valuation rates. The new scheme eliminates this difference as it allows property holders to declare it at actual price and pay only 1% tax.

However, in the Finance Act, the FBR had inserted a clause that states, “The provisions of this section shall come into force on such date as the federal government may, by notification, in official gazette, appoint”.

This notification has not been issued even after 16 days of the start of the new fiscal year 2018-19.

But the delay in issuance of notifications is resulting in payment of federal taxes at the existing rates of 1% and 2% being charged from the sellers and 2% and 4% being paid by the purchaser.

The delay in issuance of the notification and appointment of a director general has given an impression that the caretaker government is also not serious about property undervaluation. The issue has also been taken up at the level of caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, but no further action has been taken yet.

“Unless provinces come on board and change their tax laws and rates, the new system will be difficult to implement,” said FBR spokesman Dr Mohammad Iqbal, while explaining the reasons for the delay.

Abbasi had announced the first right to buy property scheme in first week of April and there was hope that the federal and the provincial governments would resolve these issues before end of June.

But the FBR’s bureaucracy argued that these drastic reforms cannot be implemented without strong political commitment. It said that any decision to abolish or enforce the new realty sector regime can be taken by the next government.

While scrutinising the Finance Bill 2018, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue had also opposed the new scheme. Chairman of the standing committee Farooq Naek said that according to the constitution, taxes on immovable property were not a federal subject.

“The government should restrict itself to the subject of recovering unpaid taxes arising from the undeclared value of the property. The concept of understatement of the asset value can only be known when the FBR knows beforehand what the fair market value is,” according to Naek.

In May this year, the FBR spokesman had said that until the provinces abolished the deputy collector rates and stamp duties rates, the pre-emption scheme cannot be successful.

The provinces collect 8% of the value of the property transaction in taxes. The FBR has also not increased the property valuation rates for the last two years. In 2016, it had notified fresh property valuation rates for 21 major cities, which provided a new base for the collection of withholding and capital gains tax (CGT).

The average 25% to 30% increase in the property valuation rates for collection of federal taxes under the second phase had to be implemented from July last year.

After holding a series of meetings with the realty sector stakeholders, the federal government had decided to bring the deputy collector-determined property rates on a par with the prevailing market rates for enhancing tax collection in three phases.

The delay in full implementation of these reforms could increase problems for Pakistan to curb black economy particularly at a time when it faces threat of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force.


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  FBR receives details of property held by Pakistanis in UK
Posted by: LRE-Azan - Yesterday 04:07 PM - No Replies

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue announced that it has received data of all immovable properties owned by Pakistanis in the United Kingdom from tax authorities there.

The data was received with the assistance of OECD and UK Tax Authorities, a short three-line press release issued by the FBR announced.

A senior tax official told Dawn the soft data received is related to those Pakistanis who are not UK residents and have purchased properties including houses, flats etc in the UK. However, the FBR has not yet scrutinised the data to determine the total number of Pakistanis who have invested in the UK, or the total amount of the market value of the properties, the official added.

The release simply said that the “data will be further analyzed to determine whether these people have declared these properties in their tax returns filed with the FBR”.
The official said FBR has not yet received any information regarding moveable, or liquid, assets held by Pakistanis in the UK. “We will receive this information from September onward as part of the OECD convention”, the official said.

According to officials, it was not yet decided whether the data will be sent to field offices or scrutinized at FBR headquarters. “We will sent notices to those people who have not declared these properties in Pakistan,” the official added.

Analysts believe the receipt of this information at a time when the government has already announced an amnesty scheme will provide opportunity to these Pakistanis to declare these assets at a very nominal tax rate. At the same time, FBR has already collecting data regarding huge investments made in real estate in Pakistan during the last few years. However, these people have not declared their properties in their returns.

Pakistan has also become a signatory to the OECD Multilateral Convention which will provide access to information about offshore financial accounts of Pakistani residents from September this year. This will enhance the capacity of the Federal Board of Revenue due to access to offshore financial accounts of Pakistani residents held in the signatory countries.

Necessary amendments have also been made to the Protection of Economic Reform Act, 1992, to regulate foreign exchange movements and bring them in line with the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Moreover, amendments have been made to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, whereby the FBR may inquire about the source of foreign remittance above Rs10m and limitation of five years to probe foreign assets and income has been removed.

Nearly 56,000 people have filed returns declaring their foreign and domestic assets and whiten it by paying around Rs99bn, the official added.

The last date for the tax amnesty scheme has already been extended until July 31.


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  NAB has arrested two retired military and a civilian office's for DHA Islamabad Scam
Posted by: LRE-Azan - Yesterday 12:54 PM - No Replies

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau, Rawalpindi has arrested two retired military officers and a civilian officer as the main accused in connection with the DHA Islamabad farmhouse project scam amounting to Rs500 million, said a press release issued by the accountability watchdog on Thursday.

Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal, who is the ex-administrator of DHA and Col (retd) Sabahat Qadeer Butt, ex-director project of DHA were arrested for misusing their authority and violating the contract by selling allotment certificates of DHA Islamabad illegally and in violation of agreement between DHA and Elysium Holdings Pakistan Ltd, said the statement.

Another prime accused, Waseem Aslam, who was Chief Executive Officer of Elysium Holdings, has been arrested for causing loss to the DHA and illegal sale of non-saleable certificates of DHA in violation of contract agreement and without payment to the land owners.

NAB arrested Javed Iqbal and Sabahat Qadeer Butt from Rawalpindi, while Waseem Aslam was arrested from Lahore, official sources said.

Elysium Holdings, owned by Kamran Kayani, the younger brother of former army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, is also facing NAB action in the Rs16 billion DHA City (Lahore) scam.

Kamran Kayani is reportedly abroad these days. Meanwhile another brother of the former army chief, retired Brig Amjad Parvez Kayani earlier issued a statement, claiming that the former military chief Gen ® Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had nothing to do with the actions and business interests of his brothers.

A formal inquiry into the scam is under process at NAB, Rawalpindi.

An accountability court granted NAB the physical remand of the three accused till Jan 29.

A formal inquiry against Elysium Holdings was initiated by NAB in April last year for its alleged involvement in the sale of allotment certificates for the DHA Islamabad farmhouse project scam amounting to Rs500 million.

Elysium Holdings is also accused of helping Globaco (Pvt) Ltd acquire the DHA City (Lahore) project.

The bureau has already arrested Hammad Arshad, owner of Globaco (Pvt) Ltd, on charges of corruption and cheating people and termed him the prime accused in the Rs16 billion scam.


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  Pakistan and China Discuss on Railway Project - Development News
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 07-16-2018 07:32 PM - No Replies

ISLAMABAD - A delegation of Chinese consortium in terms of Framework Agreement called on Chairman, Ministry of Railways, Muhammad Javed Anwar here on Thursday and discussed progress on ML-I (Karachi-Peshawar) project.

The Chairman highlighted importance of ML-I project and informed that it is an Early Harvest and a strategic project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The feasibility study of a preliminary design of Phase-I of the Project has been completed and is in final stages of review process so that next steps of project implementation could be initiated on priority. Both sides also discussed areas of cooperation in railways sector. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Sun, Head of Pakistan Mission of CREC and Mazhar Ali Shah, Director General Planning.

Cpec News, Chinese News,Pak Real Estate News, development in Pakistan, New Project in Pakistan


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  NHA Work on 17 Road Infrastructure Projects is continuing in backward Areas
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 01-17-2018 05:24 PM - No Replies

ISLAMABAD: The National Highway Authority (NHA) has been striving to construct network of highways and motorways in less-developed areas of the country with special focus on Balochistan. In Balochistan, work on 17 road infrastructure projects is continuing in backward areas to bring them on a par with the developed ones, an official of NHA told APP on Sunday.

The NHA official said that for dualisation of 408km Khuzdar-Chaman section of N-25, including rehabilitation of existing Khuzdar-Kalat section and land acquisition, Rs2 billion have been earmarked in the current fiscal year under Public Sector Development Programme.

For dualisation of 210km Yarik-Mughalkot-Zhob section of N-50 CPEC western alignment, including Zhob bypass and land acquisition, Rs5 billion have been set aside, he said.

For 106km Basima-Khuzdar Highway Rs1,500 million have been allocated in the present fiscal, he said, adding that Rs4 billion have been earmarked for Bella-Awaran-Hoshab Road.

For construction of black top road Yakmach-Kharan highway Rs3 billion have been allocated while for construction of 80km road from Harnai to Sanjavi Rs1 billion have been set aside, he informed.

He said Rs1500 million have been earmarked for 200km Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab section of Gwadar-Rattodero while for improvement and widening of balance work of 51km Kararo Wad section of N-25, Rs1 billion have been allocated.

He said that for 247km Kalat-Quetta- Chaman section of N-25 Rs500 million have been earmarked

For National Highway Development Sector Improvement Programme a total of Rs1.25 billion have been allocated and Qila Saifullah-Loralai-Wagum Rud section of N-70 is being rehabilitated under this programme.

He said that Rs500 million have been allocated for rehabilitation and improvement of 120km Quetta-Dhadhar section of N-65 whereas Rs1 billion has also been earmarked for 41km Sanan-Aab-e-Gum connecting road between Sibbi and Kachhi district.

The official said that Rs1 billion has also been earmarked for widening and improvement of 459km Hoshab-Nag-Basima-Surab section of N-85.

He said that Rs1.25 billion has been allocated for construction of 81km Zhob-Mughalkot section of N-50. Moreover, Rs5 billion has been earmarked for Zhob to Kuchlak road, including land acquisition and Nokundi-Musakhel-Panjgoor road, he said.

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  300MW Plant In Gwadar will supply Free Electricity To Aarea issued
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 01-17-2018 05:05 PM - No Replies

Development News:

QUETTA: Balochistan Environment Secretary Ghulam Muhammad Sabir has said that provincial authorities have issued a no-objection certificate for a 300MW coal-based power plant in Gwadar on the condition that electricity from the plant will be supplied free of charge to household consumers of the area.

He was speaking at a public hearing held in the provincial capital to discuss the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the new 300MW imported coal-based power plant in Gwadar.

The hearing was attended, among others, by Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (Bepa) director general retired Captain Muhammad Tariq, representatives of the CIHC Pak Power Company Ltd, experts of developmental and environmental affairs, NGOs and chairman of the municipal committee of Gwadar district.

A detailed review of the EIA report was presented by a consultant of the project, Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) Pakistan

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Electicity Plan in Pakistan,Development in Pakistan Real Estate Sector, Development News, CPEC, Gwadar Pakistan, Chinese invesment in Pakistan, China Pakistan Economic Corridor

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  GIEDA had Completely Ignored the Rules in allotting Commercial & Industrial plots
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 01-03-2018 04:43 PM - No Replies

Pervasive corruption in this country has not spared even the Gwadar development project, crown jewel of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, even though it is at the centre of national attention. According to a press statement issued the other day by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman, Justice Javed Iqbal, investigations show the Gwadar Industrial Estate Development Authority had completely ignored the rules in allotting commercial and industrial plots in the port city, distributing them among favourites and relatives with the help of facilitators (revenue authority and provincial government officials). In so doing, notes the statement, applications of eligible industrial and other investors were rejected.

Distressing as this information is, it comes as no surprise. It has been a while when press reports revealed that some 12,000 acres of state land were illegally allotted to certain individuals with the support of politically influential people and in connivance of revenue officials. Illegality of the activity was challenged in the relevant forum and the land was restored to the government. Still, some of the beneficiaries of this largesse wouldn't give up. They approached the revenue authorities and managed to grab back 3,167 acres of state land from a helpful senior member of the Revenue Board. The giveaway, once again, was challenged and suspended by the Board sitting in full strength, and later the suspension was upheld by the High Court. The affair is full of deceit and fraud. As the court remarked "nobody knows how the settled land owned by the state has been transferred to the private sector that too for peanuts". It also made the unsurprising observation that "the provincial government and the Board of Revenue cannot be absolved of their responsibility in this regard."

Someone has to pay a price for such corrupt practices; in this case, probably the entire country. For these illegal allotments can only discourage genuine investors, adversely impacting the development of various projects associated with the new port. The NAB chairman's decision to pursue the case cannot be welcomed enough. He has vowed to deal with an iron hand the corrupt, he said, are out to jeopardize economic progress of Gwadar. Hopefully, all those involved in the scam will finally be brought to account, putting a complete stop to this illegal and unfair practice. Aside from dishonest distribution of state lands, there is also the issue of land acquisitions from local people at cheap rates. Attention should be paid to it. Once the development process picks up speed, the prices will rise, causing heartburn among not only those affected in Gwadar but in all of Balochistan where a sense of deprivation is already very high. The city planners need to come up with price regulations before it is too late.

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  Illegal occupation of a Vast Piece of Land in Zone-III Near to Sector D-12 of the Cap
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 11-07-2017 04:47 PM - No Replies

ISLAMABAD - The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has failed to take action against what it considers illegal occupation of a vast piece of land in Zone-III near to sector D-12 of the capital. The Supreme Court had directed the CDAto retrieve the land from illegal occupation of locals, including some influential of the capital city, who have connections with a political party.

Some days back, the officials of the Enforcement Directorate and other high officials visited the area with the purpose to initiate operation to retrieve the land but they had to face stiff resistance from the occupants, according to the CDAofficials who were part of the anti-encroachment team. An officials told The Nation on condition of not to be named that the occupants did not even allow the CDAstaff to start the operation. “They (CDA officials) were abused verbally by the locals before they were forced to pack up and leave the scene,” the official said, adding the activity was just a compromised show to register efficiency.

In August 2014, then Chairman CDA , Maroof Afzal had ordered anti-encroachment operation against the illegal structures and other encroachments in violation of CDA Zoning Regulations. Chairman CDA had said that the operation against the illegal and unauthorised farmhouses and housing societies in the area would continue, which have been established against the CDA Zoning Regulations and without the permission of CDA in the surrounding of Margalla Avenue and Shah Allah Ditta areas of Sector D-12. During the operation, the anti-encroachment team of CDA permanently closed and dismantled the unauthorised approach roads, which lead towards the illegally established housing societies and farmhouses in Pind Sangriyal, adjacent to Sector D-12. The occupants again started illegal structures, unauthorised approach roads in gross violation of Building Bylaws and Zoning Regulations. While such structures, illegally erected by the people in Zone-III are absolutely against the Zoning Regulations of CDA . CDA had then also warned the violators and encroachers against the illegal construction activities in the surroundings of Margalla Avenue and Shah Allah Ditta areas and asked them to abide by the CDA Building Bylaws and Zoning Regulations in Zone-III but all in vain. CDA had also warned the people to refrain from construction activities in Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) as well as around Margalla Avenue and Zone-III. However, neither the violators stopped nor the CDA took any major action against them since.

In 2016, the Islamabad Citizens’ Forum had also urged the city’s managers to protect the Margalla Hills from encroachers. The forum had called the press conference in support of a CDA operation against an illegal housing society by the name of North Ridge in Shah Allah Ditta during which, the Authority claimed it retrieved 100 kanals of land. The CDA had claimed that in its operation, it had retrieved 100 kanals of forest land adjacent to D-12 from an illegal housing society. The Islamabad chapter of the Jamaat-i-Islami and some of the locals had alleged that the CDA conducted the operation because its Member (Administration) is involved in property business in the area and was forcing them to sell him their lands for a nominal price. The Member was later replaced. The JI leaders also leveled allegations against the Member (Administration) including misuse of authority and accumulation of wealth beyond unknown sources but the NAB exonerated him of all the charges. On the other hand, the stance of the CDAremained unchanged. CDA still considers the occupation by the locals and construction activity in the area as illegal and unauthorized. NAB had recommended that CDA takes immediate steps by initiating the land acquisition proceedings in Zone III to protect the Margalla Hills National Park.

According to a National Accountability Bureau report, seven illegal housing societies are operating on private land in Zone III of Margalla Hills, where housing societies are not allowed to operate. Private builders allegedly backed by some influential have started carving out plots on about 3,000 kanals of state land in the Sri Saral village falling in the National Park area on the foot of Margalla Hills. The land, a few hundred feet north of Sector D-12, was acquired by the CDA in 1969 and declared as the National Park area.

The construction activity at the national park area had started during the previous government but the civic agency could not stop it because the people involved in it were backed by influential personalities of the capital. Private developers have been bulldozing the hills in the north of D-12 and carving out plots. During the last three years, residents of the areas had filed a number of complaints with the CDAseeking action against the land mafia though the CDA failed to stop the illegal activity. It may be recalled that in July 2002, the CDA conducted an operation in Sri Saral, sector D-12, against illegal constructions that left two villagers dead and more than 60 injured.

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  Chinese govt rolls out scholarships for Pakistani students
Posted by: LRE-Azan - 11-07-2017 03:54 PM - No Replies

ZHENGZHOU: The Chinese government is offering preferential scholarships for Pakistani students as a part of its One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative and students are encouraged to apply.

These remarks were made by Sias International University (SIU) President Dr Sikun Chen as he briefed a Pakistani media delegation visiting Henan province on Saturday.

Dr Chen said they encouraged students from all OBOR countries to benefit from the scholarship scheme.

“Sixty per cent of awardees shall be from OBOR member states as per the directives of the Chinese government,” he added.

He informed the delegation that 27,000 students, including 300 international academia from 25 countries are currently enrolled in the SIU.

Dr Chen said two Pakistani students had already completed their degrees at the educational institute in this year.The university employs over 1,500 full-time faculty members which includes 135 full-time foreign teachers and also has the highest foreign faculty to student ratio in China.

It offers degrees in nine disciplines which include liberal arts, science, engineering, economics, management, medicine, law, education and performing arts.

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