Investors interested in govt’s housing project, says minister


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema has said that government is working on a comprehensive and coherent plan of action to meet the housing shortfall and fulfil its promise of constructing five million houses in next five years.

He stated this while addressing a press conference here Friday along with Minister of State for Housing and Works Muhammad Shabbir Ali and Parliamentary Secretary for Housing and Works Tashfeen Safdar.

Cheema said the many foreign investors including several governments and state-owned companies have expressed their interest in five million housing projects. The banks working in the country along with World Bank have been convinced for housing finance especially for the low and middle-income groups, he maintained.

The minister said that government is fully determined to meet the demand of houses in the country for which it is working closely with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the World Bank to resolve implementation challenges.

He said that Ministry of Housing and Works has completed all the assigned tasks related to Naya Pakistan Housing Project and no rule of law is pending with it. “The Ministry for Housing and Works has worked as a facilitator the major assignments regarding foreclosure laws and making or amending new rules have been done by the Task Force,” he added.

He said that this task force includes experts having great experience in the construction sector and the government will succeed in its plan through hard work, commitment and transparency.

The minister said that foreign investors have also shown great interest in this project and a conducive environment will be ensured for them. However, there will be no compromise on quality, he reiterated.

To a question about the performance of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF), the minister said that there had been irregularities in this department and one of its projects namely ‘Thalian Project’ lacked transparency. “But positive changes have been made in the affairs of various attached departments during last three to four months,” the minister claimed.

He said that an incremental housing system will be introduced through an initial investment of Rs. 5 billion to serve low-income people with affordable housing. He said that well-reputed local companies will be included in this system which will be also applicable for construction of houses in slum areas.

To another question about need to establish Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA), the minister said that existing authorities like Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA), National Housing Authority (NHA) or others do not have potential to construct millions of houses.

The NPHA, he said, will manage the task of constructing five million houses and to be solely responsible for this project.