The increase in property valuation by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is grossly excessive and unacceptable, said Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Nadeem Rauf.

“Revision of market valuation of immovable property in 40 major cities of Pakistan by the Federal Board of Revenue is tantamount to stalling the country’s economy and suspending business activities,” the RCCI president said in a statement on Friday. Rauf lamented that through a Statutory Residual Order (SRO), the value of property has been hiked by 100-600%.

Following the proposed increase in taxes and valuation, registry values of homes could experience five-fold increase. Keeping in view the changing policies, he questioned the government how could traders run their own businesses and set up factories in Pakistan. Citing that the chamber had always called for devising laws after thorough consultation with stakeholders, he regretted that RCCI was not taken on board prior to approval of the SRO, he said.

According to Rauf, FBR’s decision was against the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme project of the current government. Highlighting that the cost of construction material was on an uptrend, he said that prices of cement, bricks and sanitary material had tripled over the past one year. “Implementation of the proposed SRO will dent the construction industry,” he added.

The business community has been hit hardest by the Covid-19 epidemic, he stated and urged the government to take immediate notice of the hike in property valuation. According to Rauf, FBR took this step to enhance tax collection however, the ground realities were quite different. According to FBR’s data, its revenues during the first quarter exceeded the target.