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Low cost vertical housing for poor

Top Story

March 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced to bring an ambitious programme for shanty towns for which developers will be encouraged for construction of flats with all facilities.

The premier said spread of cities, which are engulfing cultivated land and creating climate issues, need to be stopped. Addressing a ceremony in connection with the launch of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) finance policy for low-cost housing here Monday, Imran Khan said Islamabad will be made a model city with vertical buildings. He said the construction of high-rise buildings will be encouraged to protect green areas.

The prime minister said all policies being implemented by the government are geared towards lifting the lowest segment of society out of poverty. He said the government is committed to provide affordable houses to poor people. He said a huge population of Pakistan cannot afford its own house that is why the government is going to finance the cash-starved people to build their own houses.

The prime minister said it is a beginning, which will not only provide roof to the downtrodden, but its multiplier effect will also give boost to 40 other industries and provide jobs to the youth.

Imran Khan said people living in katchi abadis will be given ownership rights with civic facilities. Highlighting salient features of the low-cost housing project, the SBP governor said a housing unit costing below Rs3 million will be funded under this programme. He said the banks will provide loan up to Rs2.7 million under this scheme. He said the banks and other financial institutions are being incentivised to extend loans for the scheme. He said special segments, including widows, transgender, martyrs, people living in war against terror hit areas and orphans will be given priority under this scheme, which will be available on new houses.

The SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa said that these units can neither be rented nor sold. He said reduced cost financing will be made available for 100,000 housing units with the mark-up ratio of five percent for 12.5 years.

Imran Khan urged the Lahore High Court (LHC) to resolve the pending case on foreclosure laws “so the government can go ahead and build 5 million houses in five years under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme. He said that the common man is unable to “raise required funds to build a house”.

Imran said the government wants to give basic facilities to residents of shantytowns across the country. “We want to incentivise private firms to set up flats in these areas,” he said. “Look at China and the way they have wiped out poverty in 30 years, it was all down to implementing policies with the best interest of the public in mind,” he added.

The premier said the government would provide employment to youth. “Our flagship Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme will have a multiplier effect on 40 other industries,” said the PM.

Imran said that it was important for the government to make cash available for the common man in Pakistan to enable him to own low-cost houses. Imran Khan said that ever since his government took office, their focus has been on efforts to lift the lowest segments of society. Everyone wants a home of their own. It was important to make cheap financing available for the underprivileged class for them to own houses. The prime minister noted that the special package in the policy meant for tribal areas would be crucial as the people in those formerly war-torn areas are looking to rebuild their houses and infrastructure. The inclusion of the transgender community and widows in the policy was also positive, he added.

Imran Khan said Pakistan had become a country just for "the elite and the powerful" and his government was striving to revert it back to a society with compassion, as envisioned by the country's founding fathers.

"We will not let cities in Pakistan expand horizontally anymore, we will take the cities upwards," he vowed, stressing that the expansion of cities was endangering green areas and risked the national food security and environment. Except for areas with aviation restrictions, citizens will be allowed to build high-rises in commercial areas of Islamabad to whatever heights they prefer,” Imran announced.

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