LAHORE: The Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) has proposed the development of Lahore Trade Centre in line with the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to attract both local and foreign investors, a top official of the PBIT said.

“Despite offers to privatise the Lahore Trade Centre’s land, no investor took interest in the biding process. This means that we need to explore some other way of developing LTC,” Moazzam Hussain, Director General Projects PBIT, told a conference attended by developers, banks and brokerage houses.

REIT is a mutual fund that invests in real estate development projects and the Punjab government has given fiscal incentives by lowering stamp duty for such funds to buy and sell property.

“REIT offers multiple benefits to the economy and can bring transparency to real estate transactions,” Hussain said.

The funds can increase participation of general public in profitable real estate projects and kick start business activities, thereby eliminate housing backlog and provide quality living, he added. “REIT can bring standardisation and best practices to the construction industry, efficiently channel Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and substantially increase government revenues.”

The conference focused on recent incentives as well as the procedure, policy and regulatory framework for opening up the REIT and to engage in a dialogue with all stakeholders.

A Developmental REIT Scheme, he said, invests in real estate to develop it for industrial, commercial or residential purposes through construction or refurbishment and generates income through its subsequent sales. “REIT will provide a viable channel for FDI into development of the Lahore Trade Centre,” Hussain said.

He said that the PBIT was actively promoting the new REIT structure and initiating real estate projects.