Tauhida Sultana Managing Director, Advance Homes Pvt. Ltd

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How Advance Homes PVT Ltd did started its journey?

The demand for own residence or own house comes just after the demand for food and clothes and it is obvious for people worldwide. Everyone in his life dreams for his or her own house and it is very basic for human nature. Specially, people from the present city life always dream for own flat or apartment for safe housing. In accordance to that basic demand of people, more than two thousand developer company have been established.

Please tell us something about the present condition of Real Estate industry.

The basic demand of a human being is food, shelter, clothing and medicine. But considering the present scenario shelter is the main problem for all of us. Residence is one of the basic needs of human beings for all the people worldwide. The right to live in one’s own is a fundamental right and it comes just after the basic needs of food and clothes and this need is internationally recognized. In developing the urban area, housing industry plays an important role in solving housing problem. In the present condition of city life every citizen have a demand for a well-organized flat or apartment. Bangladesh, being small but one of the most densely populated countries and though the land is not increasing but the population has keep growing rapidly and government along can provide the shelter for all. Keeping this fact in mind and to secure roof over one’s head housing industry in Bangladesh have boomed and around  more than two thousands developer company have already been established. Housing industry has been one of the biggest investment sector and the building construction industry is considered as one of the fastest growing and largest sectors in Bangladesh. Now a days. Furthermore, the housing industry has been responsible for the setting up of the numerous linkage factories – cement, rod, sanitary ware, ceramic tile, UPVC pipe, brick, electric cable, and aluminum section. All of those industries created workplace for a huge amount of people and around 35 lakh people are already working for those industry. With the larger proportion of people living in this income group, the private housing real estate sector has a huge scope to grow in this country. This sector is contributing 19 per cent to the total national GDP growth. During the last decade, the total volume of Real Estate, Renting and Business service sector increased every year which implies a positive growth in the sector every year but still the sector is passing a critical moment at present and the business of this sector are facing ailing situation. Global economic recession, collapse in country’s stock market, increasing in the rate of returned migrant workers, decreased investment in the private sector, all are causing economic slump in the housing industry. Million dollar investments are under threat. To solve the crisis and to pave the way for the development of the industry, the problem of long existent inadequate financing availability at flexible terms and costs need to be removed immediately. But the government is not taking the required steps and that’s why both the buyer and sellers amount have reduced from this industry. Thus, around 70 percent investment has been reduced in this sector.

What are the ways to overcome this situation?

Housing industry create scope for people to have a roof over one’s head, that’s why government should increase concentration upon this sector. When we have the deeper insights of the critical factors for increasing its coverage, it finally recommends some immediate policy measures.  To overcome the present critical situation, the rate of tax on flat and plot registration, should be reduced. Simplification of the procedure of taxation on investment in apartment is very important. At present, the overall rate of tax for flat registration is 14 percent. Each Sq. feet per flat costs Bdt 2000. For that reason, only registration of flat is costing around 3 to 20 lakh, based on the area. That’s why common people’s dream to have own plot are lessening. In the neighboring countries, the registration cost is 4 to 7 percent. In comparison to that, in our country, the cost is quite huge and that’s why common people are losing interest. Apart from meeting the housing needs, the Real Estate sector contributes to the Government exchequer through Registration Fees, VAT, Advance Income Tax (AIT), Stamp Duty, Property Handover Tax etc. But for the ailing condition of this industry, even the government is being deprived of the desired revenue. Real Estate marketers should have appropriate plans for constructing low cost apartment in the peripheral areas of the town which is possible only with the support of government. The housing project including flats and apartment building should be planned to cater to the needs of the middle-income people. Government can adopt policy so that banks and other financial institutions extend their assistance to the apartment builders.

To overcome the crisis what steps have been taken by Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB)?

Like any other country in the world, the housing sector plays vital roles both in the context of the economy of Bangladesh and serving the fundamental human right of shelter. That’s why, Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) has been supporting housing industry constantly to come out of the critical condition that we are passing for last 2 decades.  Each year REHAB is organizing housing fair in Dhaka and other big capitals of the country. They are having discussion with government regarding the problems and present crisis of this industry regularly.  REHAB is planning to uphold some major demand ahead of the next fiscal year. Among them long-term debit facilities in  single digit interest, reduce of registration fee and tax to 7 percent and cancellation of new money added tax and other demand will be focused too. If the government takes initiative to solve these problems, then the present crisis of housing industry will be removed and people will be able to buy flats and apartments.

How did you get engaged in business activities?

I was born at Syedpur city in Nilfamari district. My father was a teacher of Government Technical College and my mother was the Principal of the Syedpur Railway High School. I belong to a very middle class family. My grandfather Late Lutfor Rahman was engaged in politics though and he was the Vice President of the central committee of Labour league. Being engaged in various cultural activities and movement and the values I got from my family at the very early hood, I believed in gender awareness.  In 1990, I established an organization calls ‘ShotorupaHostoshilpo’ with 52 women who was trained from Concern Bangladesh that received generous funding from Ireland. There we used to made, carpet, handloom fabrics, many handicrafts and other handmade products. At that time, EmdadulKabir Siddique, the DGM of Handloom board visited the organization and was satisfied with our products. Then he managed to provide us training from BSCIC and from there we got export license. But because to some family problem and non-cooperation of my husband, of factory get closed.Then I come to Dhaka and get admitted for master’s program in political science in Dhaka College (private). Along with that I joined in a research farm named Development Planners and consultant as a research assistant. At that time met some prominent intellectual faces of our country included Dr. Lutfar Rahman, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Monirujjaman Miya( ex-Vice President of DU) , Dr. Nizam and many other like them. Then, once I got a chance to go to Netherlands and there I got engaged in garment’s stocklot business due to some financial problem. While travelling many countries carrying stocklot sample, I met renowned Bangladeshi businessman in Singapore, Mr. M Bodiuzzaman,Managing Director of Tania Group.  Then with his financial support and business suggestion, I achieved the present position.

What is your future plan regarding Advance Homes?

I want to spread the housing industry throughout the country. In accordance to that we have already started developing our projects on Gopalgonj. If we become able to spread the housing industry throughout the whole country, then ultimately the extreme pressure of huge population on city will be decreased.

Please tell us something about the naming of ‘Unique gift’? What was the reason behind its name or what did you mean by this name?

Unique Gift Foundation is a non-profitable, non-political, voluntary and charitable organization and it is a very special organization for the special child of our society. We believe that the special children are very unique than others. We also believe that these special children’s are the gift of god. That’s why we have named this organization as “Unique Gift”.Unique Gift Foundation starts their 1st Project “Unique Gift School (A Therapeutic Day Boarding Special Needs School)” with mission to help children with disabilities and learning Challenges aimed with to improve the skills of individual’s special needs and the 2nd & 3rd Project is “Unique Gift Therapy & Rehabilitation Center (A Center for Treatment & Rehabilitation of Health Disorders & Diseases)” & “Unique Gift Day Care & Pre-School (An Early Childhood Development Center)”.

Can you please tell us something about the activities of this organization? Who get admitted in this organization?

Mainly, those who are unable to get advanced treatment from abroad because of financial problems get admitted here. That’s why we provide treatment to then with a very low cost. Each child is maintained by a single therapist and a single maid and we take only the maintenance cost of them. Still now we did not take any charity or donation for the maintenance of this organization because we are trying to keep up all good work by our own cost as long as we can.

Is there any chance for them to get fully treated?

We are always hopeful for that, though some may not get 100% well but almost sixty to seventy percent development of their physical condition is expected. That’s why we have divided all children into 2 section including ‘Special Needs Child Day Care’ and ‘General Child Day Care’. Those who get well in core to General Child Day Care and condition us transfer them from Special Needs child Day Care.

What is your notion about the success of Unique Gift?

People generally go abroad for the betterment of their lives. But we are very proud that we are capable to send our therapists for learning something more and apply those after returning into the country.

What is the future plan of unique gift?

The main motto of Unique Gift is to spread their services countrywide and made built a branch in every district as we couldn’t work that much for the village people in comparison to the city children’s.

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