RAWALPINDI: The president Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) and Chairman ISE Towers REIT Management Company Limited (ISE REIT) Zahid Latif Khan has lauded the recent reforms proposed by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in the Real Estate Investment Trust Regulations, 2015.
Zahid Latif Khan in a statement said that the amendments introduced by SECP in REIT Regulations will promote real estate industry to a great extent. He said that the apex Regulator has always been kind to consider suggestion of stakeholders for the promotion of REIT industry. ISE REIT will suggest some more amendments in REIT Regulations to SECP on certain points in the larger interest of the REIT industry, he added. Besides the regulatory modifications as introduced by SECP, reforms in taxation regime are also inevitable for the growth of the industry. Therefore the tax proposals submitted by REIT industry should be considered by FBR and Ministry of Finance for boosting this sector, Chairman viewed.
It may be noted that regulatory framework for REITs was initially introduced by SECP in 2008 which was revised in 2010 and 2015. However, during this period only one REIT scheme was launched because, among other factors, the requirements for setting up a REIT scheme were considered rigid.
The latest amendments have been proposed on the basis of feedback and suggestions received from all the stakeholders, including REIT Management Companies (RMC), Central Depository Company (CDC) and Mutual Funds. The new amendments envisage greater autonomy for the RMCs, better role of trustees, segregation of documentary requirements for developmental and rental REITs, permission to borrow against REIT assets, acquisition of commercially viable properties and permission to raise funds from investors before transfer of property to REIT scheme. The proposed amendments address major concerns of the industry and also provide safeguards to protect interests of investors.
Just to acquaint, ISE Towers REIT Management Company Limited formerly known as Islamabad Stock Exchange Limited was established as Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) in January 2016 upon merger of three stock exchanges. ISE REIT plans to launch REIT scheme in Islamabad in the near future.