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Imran visits housing project site: Low-income segment can now own a house, says PM

By Our Correspondent
November 20, 2021
Imran visits housing project site: Low-income segment can now own a house, says PM

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Imran Khan said Friday it was for the first time that the people who could never afford, now own a house of their own, while no government in the past cared for the low-income segments of society who had no shelter.

He said this while visiting the construction site at Farash Town, in the suburbs of Islamabad. The PM visited the site of 4,400 under-construction houses under the Naya Pakistan Housing Project.

He noted that the apartments were being constructed in collaboration with the CDA, Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority and the FWO at a very fast pace. He was given a detailed briefing and informed that the pace of the project was according to the schedule.

Imran had performed ground-breaking of the project in April this year and under the project, apartments were being constructed on 70 kanals of land and out of those, 2,000 housing units had been reserved for low-income groups, registered under the Naya Pakistan Housing, 400 were for the slum dwellers and 2,000 for middle income and salaried class people.

The PM, while addressing the gathering, regretted that the previous governments did not pay heed to the basic needs of people, including affordable housing. He added that banks were asked to provide mortgages to the people to help them construct a house of their choice.

He pointed out that currently, the mortgage facility in India was 10 per cent, 30 per cent in Malaysia, while it was around 80 per cent in the West. But in Pakistan, it was zero and it took two years to make foreclosure laws of banks aimed at facilitating the general public in the construction of houses.

PM Imran said the government, besides undertaking the construction, was also providing a subsidy of Rs300,000 for each housing unit and providing loans at a very small mark-up. A sum of Rs30 billion has been allocated for this purpose. “It is our effort that the people have to pay less every month, almost equivalent to what they pay for monthly rent,” he noted.

The mark-up subsidy scheme offered long term housing finance of up to 20 years, on as low as 2pc service charges for the first five years to the low-income people. The middle-income people can get housing finance for 5-marla houses on 5pc mark-up for the first five years and for 10-marla houses on 7pc mark-up for the first five years. A sum of Rs35 billion has been allocated for the first phase of this scheme.

He said the government offered 90 per cent exemption on taxes on the construction sector and said despite the negative impact of Covid-19 all-over the world, Pakistan was one of the few countries as it kept its construction sector open and the people had an opportunity to earn their livelihood.

Premier Imran explained banks had applications in process worth around Rs226 billion, the cases for Rs90 billion had been approved, while Rs24 billion disbursed so far. He said presently 100,000 houses were under construction, and it took almost two years to put in place a structure that can take up this difficult task. However, now the Naya Pakistan Authority was fully functional to plan and execute the objective of construction of low-cost houses.

He said 52,500 housing units were under construction, out of which 20,000 have already been delivered through Akhuwat and Workers Welfare Fund. He said 104 projects comprising 307,000 housing units were under evaluation and processing whereas work on 45,133 housing units had either started or was in the final stages of planning.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that encroachments on the government lands should be cleared, calling on the provincial governments to complete the legislative process against illegal encroachments as soon as possible.

He said while presiding over the meeting of National Coordinating Committee for Housing, Construction and Development here. Briefing was given to the meeting by Surveyor General of Pakistan (SGP) regarding cadastral mapping in the country.

The meeting was informed that 88 per cent mapping of government lands had been completed so far, which revealed illegal encroachments on thousands of acres of government land, worth trillions of rupees.

The forum was also told that cadastral mapping will make the actual area and ownership of the government land part of the digital record. The most illegal encroachments are made on forest lands. Illegal encroachments have also been made on the lands of WAPDA, National Highway Authority, Civil Aviation and Railways.

In the next phase, the process of digitalization of private lands will be completed with the help of provincial governments. Expressing satisfaction over the cadastral mapping, the PM said that the verification process in two months be completed and for all provinces cadastral mapping data be readied. He also called for effective follow-up of pending cases against encroachments by the provincial governments and Islamabad Capital Territory.

He said that plans should be made to grow forests on the lands got cleared from the land mafia occupation. The meeting wa0s attended by Finance Advisor Shaukat Tarin, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Special Assistants Malik Amin Aslam, Dr Shahbaz Gill, Chairman FBR, Surveyor General of Pakistan, Chairman New Pakistan Housing and Development Authority, and senior officials of federal and provincial governments.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a review meeting on Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) and Central Business District (CBD) Walton and said both RUDA and CBD were key government projects that would promote modern, self-sufficient, clean and green housing and business facilities in the country.

“These projects are important for promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the housing and construction sectors in the country,” the PM contended. He directed the authorities to ensure maximum investment for both the projects.

Imran Khan was informed that work on development of infrastructure including roads, sewerage and drainage in the Central Business District (CBD) was in full swing and it was likely to be completed ahead of schedule.

In addition, construction work on the ‘Bab-e-Pakistan project’ will begin soon. The PM was informed that RUDA was fully prepared to build its Saphire Bay project. In addition, a state-of-the-art industrial state powered by renewable energy will be launched soon. Due to its excellent location, it is easily accessible via Ring Road and Motorway, and will have various manufacturing and industrial units.