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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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 6, 2019 at 7:23am

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/AR2...


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. 

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2019 at 10:03pm

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-sa... 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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 21, 2019 at 5:04pm

#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...

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 6, 2019 at 5:33pm

#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-f...

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 28, 2019 at 7:06pm

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 16, 2020 at 7:19am

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...

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 3, 2020 at 10:15am

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...

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.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 10, 2020 at 5:00pm

Punjab seeks WB loan for land mapping project

https://www.dawn.com/news/1550979

The Punjab government is seeking a loan of $150 million from the World Bank for a land mapping project for accessing land records and for housing programmes in the province, it is learnt.

The proposed project aims to achieve provision of a cadastral map (a map that shows the boundaries and ownership of land within specified area) linked to digital land records, access to land for housing and a unified modern land information system.

As a first step towards the land mapping, the project envisages installation of geodetic control points (permanent reference markers placed in the ground to support the production of data collection for surveying and mapping projects) and generating base maps (maps having only essential outlines and used for the plotting or presentation of specialised data of various kinds).

These geospatial (data that is directly linked to specific geographical locations) products could then be made accessible to a larger community for a variety of decisions which could contribute to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) initiative in Pakistan, according to project details. The proposed project also aims to have revenue maps scanned and made available in digital form.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

With regard to digital cadastral maps, the project intends to inform the public and in case disputes arise, safeguards have been promised to be placed for the mediation and resolution of the land mapping disputes. The new cadastral maps would then be linked to the land records in the Land Records Management and Information Systems.

Another major reason given for seeking the World Bank loan for this particular project is that both federal and Punjab governments say they will not be able to achieve the goal of “Naya Pakistan Housing Programme” of constructing nearly 2.6 million low-cost housing units in Punjab if the province’s urban land record challenges are not resolved.

Under the “Punjab Growth Strategy 2023”, the provincial government plans to increase the average number of housing units to 640,000 annually over the next five years.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2020 at 4:38pm

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-forec...

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.

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