PM lays foundation stone of ‘affordable’ housing project


–Imran says 10,000 houses will be given to people through easy bank loans

–Says govt to enact legislation to control prices of constructed houses

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the affordable housing project under which 18,5000 housing units would be built mainly for the low-income segment of the society as part of the government’s agenda of building five million houses across the country.

Addressing the ceremony, the premier said that out of the 18,500 units in Zone-IV of the federal capital, 10,000 would be specified for the low-income group who would be enabled to own a house through easy banking loans.

The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque to launch work on the housing project, said that it would take another one and a half years to complete. He said that owing to possibly a huge number of the applicants comparing the availability of the houses, the government would allot the units through balloting.

The premier also said that the government would control the prices of the housing units through necessary legislations so that a salaried person or those belonging to the low-income group can afford a home easily.

He expressed happiness over the initiation of the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme and vowed to expand it to other parts of the country. “In Karachi, around 30 to 40 per cent people live in slums without any ownership rights nor amenities like sewerage and others. For the metropolis, the government would offer around half of the slums’ land to the private parties for construction of commercial areas and build reasonable houses for the slum dwellers on the rest of the portion,” he said.

PM Imran said that the role of the government in this project would be similar to that of a facilitator as the government will provide land to private contractors who would then execute the project.

“We have started this housing scheme along with the private sector as the government has not enough resources to build five million houses. However, the government has vacant land all over the country,” he said.

The prime minister told the gathering that in the federal capital too, the government was planning to build such units for the slum dwellers for what it had identified two sectors. Such experiments had already stood successful in Mumbai, Turkey and Malaysia, he added.

He said that in Pakistan, poor people could not afford their own houses mainly because the banks did not provide them mortgage facility. The government was in the process of promulgating new laws to make the banks extend housing loans to the poor that had so far been available only to the rich class, he added.

He said that in Malaysia, the housing loans ratio stood at around 10 per cent and 80 to 90 per cent in the United Kingdom and the United States, but in Pakistan it was far below at just 0.2 per cent pro-rich bank loans facility.

The prime minister said that the government was also struggling to bring in foreign investors in the housing sector and reiterated his resolve to accomplish the task of five million houses in the country to bridge the housing shortage and make the poor people own their own house.

It is worth mentioning here that under the Naya Pakistan Housing Program, 135,000 housing units will be constructed across Pakistan in the first phase. 25,000 apartments will be built in Islamabad for federal government employees and 110,000 apartments will be constructed in Balochistan, mainly for the fishermen of Gwadar. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 3,000 units would be established.

The ceremony was attended by Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Senator Faisal Javed and MNA Asad Umar besides others.