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Real estate sector’s mixed reaction to Budget

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The initial reactions received by Realty & More to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget presented earlier in the day have been rather positive.

According to Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director of Knight Frank India, overall, the Union Budget augers well for the real estate sector having addressed affordable housing, REIT and infrastructure. Baijal said, “The housing sector will get a push from both supply and demand side. The first time homebuyers will be encouraged since they get an additional deduction of Rs.50,000 on interest for loans up to Rs.35 lakh and a house value of Rs.50 lakh. In effect, it will reduce the cost of loan which will boost the demand for housing in the budget to mid segment.”On the supply side, he said, 100 per cent exemption of profit for developers and exemption from service tax for construction of houses less than 650 sq feet will encourage supply in the affordable housing segment. The Knight Frank CMD added, “REIT has finally got its due with the abolishment of the DDT that was holding back asset owners. This is a welcome move for the industry. There will be no road block in launching REIT schemes any time now.” He also found the infrastructure and rural development focus in the Budget encouraging and said, “It is expected to give the much-needed fillip to the real estate sector.”

Enlisting some of the takeaways from FM’s Budget exercise, Vinay Khattar, Senior V-P & Head of Research, Edelweiss Broking Ltd, said, “The Government’s commitment to stick to FY17 fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent gives RBI the elbow room to cut interest rates. He said, “The lack of incremental infusion of capital in PSU banks indicates that the RBI and the Government may explore using RBI balance sheet to infuse capital into the beleaguered PSU banks.” Also, he said, “The focus on infrastructure spending and Government’s increasing delivery on roads and project clearances is a positive for the economy and markets.”

Rajeev Dimri, Leader, Indirect Tax, BMR & Associates LLP, said, The Budget announcements seem well directed with focus on rural economy, infrastructure spending, social  welfare schemes and ‘digital’ initiatives.” According to him  rationalisation of indirect tax and duty structures for various sectors with a view to encouraging ‘Make in India’ initiative is a welcome move.  Overall, he said, “coverage of various sectors of the economy was comprehensive with focus on keeping the Government spending within acceptable limits of fiscal prudence.” On the taxation front, Dimri said, “The focus on dispute resolution through creation of new tribunal benches, alternative settlement schemes and commitment to refrain from retrospective taxation going forward is encouraging and progressive.” However, he said, the introduction of new cesses in addition to those introduced in the previous year, run contrary to the expectation and appear regressive.”

Samir ChopraSam Chopra, Founder & Chairman, RE/MAX India, said, “The Union Budget 2016-2017 has been a balanced one for the whole country and will surely work really well in parity with the current Government.” Chopra said, “With infrastructure and investment being amongst the nine pillars to transform India, the Budget has built a road for real estate development.  With the first time homebuyers getting an additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to 35 lakh, provided the value of the home doesn’t exceed 60 lakh; the affordable housing sector will get a big boost.” Moreover, he said, “The Budget has proposed outlay of Rs. 2.21 lakh crore on infrastructure development which will further boost the real estate sector as the development of roads and highways automatically increases the demands for the commercial, retail and residential real estate.”

Aman Singh Gahlot, DirectorAman Singh Gehlot, Director, Ambience Group, said, “The Union Budget 2016 has allowed 100 per cent deduction for profits to an undertaking from a housing project for flats up to 30 sq. metres in four metro cities and 60 sq. metres in other cities. “This shows the Government’s commitment towards its promise to provide ‘Housing for All by 2022’.” According to him the other proposals like additional exemption of Rs. 50,000 on housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh for purchase of houses costing up to 50 Lakh, service tax exemption for first-time homebuyers and the focus on affordable housing are likely “to lift buyer sentiment in the real estate sector and give a much-needed boost to sales of housing units.” The Budget, he said, “has also made investing in real estate sector attractive once again by scrapping dividend distribution tax (DDT) component for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). This will make REITs an attractive investment option and allow developers to monetise their projects.”

Vishal Gupta, MD, Ashiana Housing said, “It is a balanced Budget, it will boost affordable housing sector. The budget would promote real estate sector, especially the affordable housing.”An overall tax simplification has been provided for lot of us doing business here,” he said, adding that it gives incentives to the affordable housing by exempting from service tax houses upto 60 sq m. Gupta said that the budget provides no Service Tax for houses built under 60 square metres, besides offering additional exemption of Rs. 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh, provided cost of house is not above Rs. 50 lakh. This budget is going to boost the stressed housing sector, Gupta said, adding that exemptions provided on housing loan interest for first time home buyers is a great incentive to the real estate sector.

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Prashant SolomonMD, Chintels India Ltd. said, “Union Budget 2016 is comprehensive and well-rounded with some positive initiatives for the real estate sector. 100 per cent deduction for profits to an undertaking from a housing project for flats upto 30 sq. metres in four metro cities and 60 sq. metres in other cities will benefit developers in the low-cost housing space. Deduction for additional interest of Rs. 50,000 per annum for loans up to Rs. 35 lakh for houses under Rs. 50 lakh will encourage low-end buyers to invest in property. Excise duty exemption on Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) will lower the cost for housing construction and, in turn, encourage builders to pass on the benefits to home buyers. Overall, we expected FM to be more aggressive for the real estate sector during this Budget regarding issues like industry status and single window clearance.”

Anubhav JainDirector, Silverglades said, “While it’s a pro-poor and pro-growth Budget, there have been no major announcements for the real estate sector. Developers were looking forward to credit break and single-window clearance for projects, which the govt has failed to announce. On the other hand, additional tax deduction of Rs 50,000 for houses up to Rs 50 lakh and no excise on RMC for self-consumption are positive initiatives to encourage affordable home buyers and  developers.”

Amit.K.Lalit professional picAmit K Lalit, CEO & Founder VALION, P.R.E.F.O said, “Budget announcement brings a positive streak though the sentiment for real estate sector may not change drastically by the measure. By introducing an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 in the Budget 2016, FM has intended to bring a boost the stressed residential sectors. The additional deduction given on interest for loan up to Rs 35 lakh, whereas the cost of house should not be more than Rs 50 lakh was a much awaited impetus for the home buyers. Further scrapping of dividend distribution tax on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) will encourage greater inflow of capital to the real estate sector. DDT was a stumbling block for REITs which would now resolve most of the issues pertaining to MAT and capital gains. Further it would help developers to raise funds with an ease, as this makes investments attractive for investors as well. Budget 2016 also opens a chance for the foreign investors to invest in lease  rental generating assets, an asset class otherwise prohibited foreign investments. Such initiatives and steps are a welcome move for real estate sector.”

Ankur JindalCOO, Sales, SVP Group, said, ‘Housing for all’ became the real estate focus of the budget today. The direct and indirect tax benefits for affordable housing should boost the government’s smart city initiative. Additional deduction of interest would incentivise the first time home buyers to buy their dream home. The REIT/InvIT market should finally take off now that the FM has granted dividend distribution tax exemption. Now people can go for retirement homes, with a loan upto 35 lakh. They would get an additional 50,000 tax break. Seniors will have to get loan with the help of their children as they may not be directly eligible. Overall, the Budget should have a progressive effect on real estate sector.

Suresh Bhandari, President, ASHA 2022 by Essel Group said, “We welcome FM’s decision of exempting Rs. 50,000 on housing loans up to Rs. 35 lakh, for the houses below Rs. 50 lakh. This long awaited move will provide needed boost to the lower and middle income group who are currently subjected to a maximum deduction of Rs 2 lakh on the interest payable on ‘self-occupied’ house, under the head ‘Income from house property’. Also, the immunity from service tax on housing upto 30mtrs in the metros and 60mtrs in other cities will further reduce the construction cost, thereby plummeting the prices in the affordable housing segment.”

Arjunpreet Singh Sahni, ED, Solitairian Group said, “After the last two years of disappointments this Budget has definitely paved the way for increased footfalls of first time homebuyers in the market with its provision of additional deduction of Rs 50,000 on home loan interest rate on the loan upto Rs 35 lakh. Moreover, the Government’s decision of allocating  Rs 1,000 crore fund for paying EPF of new employees till three-years of their service may also provide additional disposable income to the new employees which will definitely help in generating their interest in investing in property with the help of home loans. Both these provisions will definitely improve real estate market sentiments.”

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Pankaj Kumar Jain, Director, KW Group, said,” It’s highly encouraging that the FM Jaitley has focussed more on relieving the middle class home buyers from service sector, particularly those earning the annual income up to Rs 5 lakh. By increasing the HRA limit from Rs 60,000 for them from the earlier Rs 24,000, the FM has indirectly tried to save them from the double whammy of home loan EMIs and paying rent before they have been offered possession of their dream home. This highly welcome move will definitely encourage the fence-sitting buyers to finalise their home purchase plan at the earliest and hence real estate sector is expected to witness increased buyers momentum.”

Manoj Kumar Singh, Chairman, Mangalya Group, said, “The union Budget 2016 presented by the FM has mostly focussed on the development of infrastructure which is the backbone of real estate industry. The proposed investment of Rs 97,000 for the roads and highway sector in this budget will provide fast-track connectivity to several new regions which may come up on real estate development radar later. Moreover, the Budget has also provided renewed impetus on development on affordable housing by providing additional exemption of Rs. 50,000 for the first time homebuyers on housing loans up to Rs 35 lakh for the homes priced up to Rs 50 lakh. Such additional deduction was much awaited as the cost of housing units have increased too much over the last few years. Definitely this provision will bring cheers to the affordable home seekers across the country.”

Anuj Goel, Executive Director, KDP Infrastucture Pvt Ltd said, “The budget is positive and balanced. Exemptions on home loan interest rates for first time buyers and for affordable housing will optimize the homebuyer sentiments. It will also encourage the customer to take decision to buy their dream home and will also boost the affordable housing segment and real estate sector as a whole. Scrapping of dividend distribution tax on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is a welcoming step also the reduction in service tax for houses built under 60 square metres will lead to only positive growth of the sector.”

Brotin Banerjee, MD and CEO, Tata Housing Development Company said, “The Budget announced this year is a progressive Budget and indicated the Government’s desire to move towards higher GDP. Thrust on infrastructure and affordable housing is commendable. Greater outlay for construction of road and highways is a definite positive. We may see a lot of traction in the affordable housing space with finance ministry announce a 100 per cent deduction in tax on profits and service tax exemption for companies creating apartment upto 60 sq meters. Additionally, Digitisation of land records will help in more transparent sale and market-based pricing of land and additional exemption of Rs 50,000 for houses under Rs 50 lakhs will help bring in first buyers to the market.”

Aman NagarAman Nagar, Director, Paras Buildtech said, “Overall the Budget’s direction is positive with several macro factors making way for a better economic regime. However, with the consecutive bad years for real estate there were few facets been ignored as the expectations were high. Exemptions provided on Housing loan interest for first time home buyers and affordable housing is really appreciating move. Investment plan of 970 billion rupees ($14.1 billion) on building roads will help to complete work more quickly which would further help in urbanisation of places and development of various real estate projects. The proposed real estate bill onREITs will revive the realty sector in India.”

Snehdeep Aggarwal, Founder and Chairman, Bhartiya Group said, “The Finance Minister has rightly focused on housing construction as an important part of the economy. We are enthused by the steps taken for promoting affordable housing. Tax breaks for companies making homes of less than 30 sq m in the four metros and 60 sq m in other cities are welcome. Similarly, to ease construction, ready mix concrete being exempted from excise is a very laudable step. Doing away with service tax for homes up to 60 sq m is going to help the end user and create more demand.

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Kashi Nath Shukla, Chairman Managing Director, Tashee Group said, “The government has finally realized that ease of doing business has to become realism to spruce up the GDP. The government’s service tax exclusion on houses less than 60 sq m, and the added exemption of Rs 50,000 for housing loans up to Rs 35 lakhs for residence not higher than Rs 50 lakhs will together expected to progress for the first-time home buyers feeling which will further give confidence to the buyers to spend more in this segment”. “Also the freedom for affordable housing projects would bring in a 15-20 per cent benefit on profits after giving the MAT tax and for a real estate developer building up such a project would make it easier to draw foreign and domestic investment for housing projects”

Kalpesh Maroo, Partner, BMR & Associates LLP  said, “The FM has announced some important measures for the infrastructure sector.  Though well short being transformational, measures for increased capital outlay towards road and railways, proposed guidelines for renegotiation of PPP concession agreements, proposed policy on dispute resolution, opening up of road transport sector in the passenger segment augur well for the sector.   On the tax front exempting dividends received by an INVIT from Special purpose vehicles from DDT is a welcome proposal and is a step in the right direction of making INVITs a reality.” Maroo also said, “Budget 2016 has brought in some cheer to the realty sector, which has been under some stress in the recent past.  The much needed push to make REITs a reality has been received in the form of exemption from DDT on dividends received by a REIT from special purpose vehicles.  The extension of the tax holiday for units set up in an SEZ upto 2020 is also likely to be bring in cheer to existing SEZ developers although an early phase out of the SEZ developer holiday is a bit if a damper.  In line with Government’s “Housing for All” mission, developers of affordable housing have been granted a tax exemption and also, first-home buyers availing loans have been granted with additional deduction towards interest of Rs 50,000 in respect of homes of value less than fifty lacs.  All in all, while the sector had hoped for more relief, for now there is enough in the budget to make the sector happy”

Gaurav GuptaGaurav Gupta, General Secretary, credai RNE said, “The budget is a balanced and a growth oriented budget. Strong Push has been given to affordable housing by incentivizing developers of 100 per cent Income Tax exemption on construction of houses up to 30 sq. meters in metros and 60 sq. meters in non metros. With a proposal of zero service tax on this, it will go a long way in creating enough housing stock where demand actual exists. Developers too will be motivated to construct as Income tax exemption is a must in thin margin affordable housing projects. By introducing an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 on interest for loan up to Rs 35 lakh, FM has given some reason to cheer to the first time home buyers. A major relief is that no excise will be levied on RMC produced at the construction site. Demand for industry status, raising limit on Interest repayment from 2 lacs to 4 lakh remain unheard which was looked upon with high hopes from the entire sector.”​

Manoj-GaurManoj Gaur, President credai NCR said, “Union budget 2016 has focused on some key issues which is positive for real estate sector. In some major declarations made in the budget regarding affordable housing, it is clear that government is keen to give a boost to affordable housing segment, being also in lined with government’s initiative to provide housing to all by 2022.  100 per cent Service tax exemption has been given to make houses up to 30 sq mtr in 4 metros and up to 60 sq mtr in others. We believe that his policy for affordable segment will benefit the home buyers, especially the middle and lower income group. Increased tax rebate to 60,000 will benefit those living in rented houses in a big way. Certain issues related to direct and indirect taxes have been addressed which is good. The biggest disappointment was that the real estate did not get the infrastructure status which was long pending demand of this sector.”​

Deepak KapoorDeepak Kapoor, President credai western UP said, “The budget has brought relief to the housing sector; however, overall expectations of the realty sector were high which have not been met. In a move to boost the housing demand, deduction of Rs 50000 has been given on a loan of up to 35 lakhs. There has been allocation of funds for infrastructure development which includes construction of road networks and setting up of 300 urban clusters. Affordable housing has been given a fair share. This would kick start the real estate in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities along with new mushrooming areas in major cities as well. Direct Dividend Tax (DDT) is now exempt from REITS. This was very much required to make REITS efficiently functional. Much to our disappointment, Industry status and single window clearance system could have been the biggest game changing reforms for real estate sector which were not even mentioned in the budget.

Mr. Sanjay Rastogi, Director, Saviour Builder Pvt. Ltd. (3)Sanjay Rastogi, Director Saviour Builders Pvt. Ltd. said, “With a fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent, Govt had come up with a very growth oriented and a balanced budget which may fetch positive results in long run. There have been some major announcements for realty sector which are good for both customers as well as developer community. Our long pending demand for Real estate regulator and single window approval has not been addressed which is quiet disappointing. But, the move to improve the affordable housing segment through tax exemptions is commendable. Rent-givers have also increased tax exemption limit of Rs 60,000 which was earlier subjected to Rs 20,000 only. Furthermore, infrastructure development has been assigned a decent amount which eventually will benefit real estate.”

Pau Abello, Managing Director, Roca Bathrooms Products Pvt. Ltd. said, “We as a brand, have been the frontrunners in the industry to promote self-hygiene and clean environment for the people in the country. Abiding to the PM’s commitment towards, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the allotment of Rs. 9,000 crore for the campaign is bound to give results this year to the sanitaryware industry. Other key takeaways from this budget like, additional discount of Rs 50,000 on home loans (Upto Rs 35 Lakh) for the first time buyers and 100 percent exemption of profit for developers and Exemption from service tax on construction of affordable houses up to 60 square metres will also help grow the real estate industry and consequently the allied sector like ours.”

Neeraj Gulati, MD, Assotech RealtyNeeraj Gulati, MD – Assotech Realty Pvt Ltd said, “The announcements in the budget are focussed on the affordable housing segment with emphasis on private public participation. The deduction of Rs 50,000 on the interests to be paid by first-time home owners on a loan of Rs 35 lakhs for a ticket price of not more than Rs 50 lakhs will lead to a rise in demand for mid-income and affordable housing segment. Secondly, the announcement of 100% deduction on profits for those developers undertaking affordable housing projects in metros and other areas and the proposal for service tax exemption on construction of affordable houses up to 60 sq.m. under Central and Sate Govt schemes will provide direct boost to the Government’s intent to get more private developers in the affordable housing segment.”

Mr.-Getamber-Anand-CMD-ATS-GroupGetamber Anand, Chairman & Managing Director, ATS Group & President – credai (National) said, “In this year’s Union Budget, Our Finance Minister has taken the right steps to boost housing and ensure that ‘Housing for All by 2022’ becomes reality. Credai welcomes the announcement, on the supply front for Private sector’s participation and housing for all by 100 per cent income tax exemption on such houses besides the MAT 30 sq m in Metros and 60 sq m in non-metros. This will encourage the private sector to go reach these areas that accommodate about 90 per cent of the shortage. This 100 per cent exemption will actually increase the IRRs on such ventures. On the enabling side to the home buyers, the increment of a deduction of Rs 50,000 on the home loan for a house of Rs 50 lakh is a very big attraction. Moreover, there will be a net to net saving of 50,000 rupees a year for such home buyers. Considering there has been a 100 per cent exemption of service tax on such houses as well. The increase of deduction on rent paid on a house from Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000 will also result in a saving of about Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000 a year. It is overall a very positive budget for the real estate sector and credai is certain that this will spur the market and induce the home buyer who has been waiting ever since for some special incentive to actually be able to buy a house. Best part is that there is a timeline fixed for delivery of such affordable houses.

Pradeep Aggarwal, Signature Global, Chairman said, “It is very heartening to see how the Govt has started recognising ‘Affordable Housing’ as a separate vertical. This is the first time affordable housing has been defined in terms of the size of a unit and not on the basis of unit price. It reflects the intent of the Govt and its seriousness towards ‘Housing for All by 2022’. The Govt has exempted service tax on construction of houses up to 60 sq. mtr. This is a remarkable step and will give much-needed direction to affordable housing. To add to it, the government has also raised tax exemption up to Rs 50,000 on first-time interest on loan amount up to Rs 35 lakh, provided the cost price of housing unit not to exceed Rs 50 lakh. It is a dual benefit for first time home buyers. This will motivate the ‘fence-sitters’ to make their final decisions. Affordable housing is the need of the hour and the Govt has started realising this. The tax exemption on interest rates could have been raised to a little further, but non-the-less, we are sure that the government shall pass the much-awaited Real Estate Regulatory Bill as well. The proposed Bill shall take care of rest of the things.”

Yash Gupta, SMD and Country Head, Hines India said, “The Government has been working towards removing bottlenecks for REIT listings but Dividend Distribution Tax had remained a key pending issue. The announcement to do away with Dividend Distribution Tax will lead to unlocking of funds. This will further push demand for rent yielding Grade-A office spaces across India. Other tax breaks for low to mid-income housing will send out strong signals to home buyers who were waiting for some positive announcement on this front.”

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Mr. Amit ModiAmit Modi, Vice President CREDAI Western UP and Director ABA Corp said, “We have to say that though the Union Budget 2016 has been great on infrastructure, same is the not the case when it comes of Real Estate and Housing! The Rs Rs 97,000 crore for road construction was indeed the need of hours, we would have liked the government to announce long pending demand of Single Window Clearance for Real Estate Projects to bring in more transparency and Industry Status to Real Estate Sector to avail legal low cost funding were completely ignore since both these initiatives would been achieved without putting burden on the budgetary allocation .
While we welcome the announced interest rebate of Rs 50,000 for first time home loans if the value of homes does not exceed of Rs 50 lakhs but would’ve like the ticket size to increased to at least Rs 1 crore since the average apartment cost in cities like Delhi and Mumbai are a lot more than Rs 50 lakhs, hence an extremely small segment of first time home buyers will be able to benefit from this initiative. Similar is the case with Service Tax exemption on housing construction of houses less that 60sq ms in the cities. The proposed 100 per cent deduction for profits of undertakings from housing projects during June 2016 – March 2019 since the stipulated timeline of 3 years is impractical since realistically speaking it takes at least 5 years for a housing project to be delivered. But since big infrastructure projects always bring in huge economic multiplier effect for the whole country, both in terms of employment generation and for the ancillary industries we feel that its a good budget with a lot more room for improvement.

Dhiraj-Jain-Director-Mahagun-Group-200x300Dhiraj Jain, Director, Mahagun Group, said, “The thrust of the current Budget was primarily on the agricultural segment and upliftment of the rural population with attention given to health care, infrastructure, digitisation and skill development. Although the budget wasn’t on par with the harbored expectations of the real estate sector, it managed to throw some light on a few measures that could give a slight push to the currently slow realty sector. Service tax exemption for developers constructing affordable housing will boost the Govt’s policy of “Housing for all by 2022” and will move development in the right direction for the masses. The benefit of an additional deduction for first-time buyers will bring about a small change to improve home buying sentiment. Overall it was an extremely cautious budget in setting right the economy juggernaut.

Sanjaya Gupta, MD, PNB Housing Finance Limited said, “The FM presented a very finely balanced budget. So far, as the housing sector is concerned, the Union Budget for the FY 16-17 is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Housing for all’ by 2022. Tax reforms made by the Govt are indicative of centre’s seriousness towards giving a much required fillip to the housing sector. The industry has been expecting initiatives that can directly translate into benefits for the end consumer, thus increasing the velocity of transaction and improving the market sentiment. The additional tax exemption of Rs 50,000 for the first time home buyers is certainly a welcome move. With this we expect a spur in sales and far greater traction of growth in the affordable housing segment.”

Kushagr AnsalKushagr Ansal, Director, Ansal Housing, said, “The Union Budget 2016-17 will go down in the history books as one of the most balanced budgets for the Indian real estate sector. At one side we saw the absence of Govt’s role for timely approvals of the projects through single window clearance, but making REITs fully functional and removing DDT from it, will be a big add for the future demand. Income groups falling under lower and middle class categories will make the most out of this Budget as Rs. 50,000 annual tax exemption for a loan extending up till Rs. 35 lakh for a property valuing not more than Rs. 50 lakh for the first time buyers has been declared. Indirect benefits for the developers have been received through promotion of affordable housing development, but a big miss was observed by not granting the industry status.

Ashok GuptaAshok Gupta, CMD, Ajnara India Ltd. said, “The Budget along with the clear agenda of targeting the affordable housing segment also had the middle class in mind wherein the tax exemption on HRA has been increased from the initial Rs 24,000 to Rs 60,000. This will go a great way in helping a family actually utilising the allowance which was earned in the form of HRA. Additionally, this will give them the option of sparing more for house rent and hence increasing the demand for rental housing in the sector. Increased demands will mean increased number of investors showing interest and an overall upliftment of the sector.

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