Make housing finance easier, not harder


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday asked governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Reza Baqir to ensure that Rs 380 billion allocated by the commercial banks for mortgage of houses is easily available to the applicants.

While speaking after balloting to give away ownership right to the widows, workers and special persons of houses completed by Naya Pakistan Housing Authority under a project of Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), he said “I would instruct Raza Baqir, governor SBP, to ensure easy access of Rs 380 billion allocated for the housing sectors to the applicants.”

The prime minister said that the government is also providing Rs 300,000 subsidy and would make sure that 5 percent interest rate on mortgage is fixed for 20 years. He said that there is a huge demand of the houses and for the first time the government is providing facilities to the construction industry for construction of houses for the poor. As the government income would increase, more money would be spent on construction of houses, he added.

He said that the facilities have been created for construction industry for the first time and activities in construction sector would provide employment opportunities, contribute to economic growth and bring about wealth creation which in turn would help repay the country’s debt.

He said that this project was started some 25 years back but since then it remained neglected during the tenure of subsequent governments. The present government revived the project and completed it through WWF by constructing 1008 flats and 500 houses, he added.

The premier said that this was a big achievement to revive and turn 25 years old project into reality for the grade 4 employees which remained least priority in the past. He said that meaning of Naya Pakistan in fact is a change in the thinking.

Later talking to media persons, the prime minister said that for the first time, the banks were asked to allocate Rs 380 billion for construction sector and disbursement of funds to the applicants which are being monitored by the SBP. He said that construction of houses by Naya Pakistan Housing Authority was moving swiftly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, however, progress was not satisfactory in Sindh.

The federal government is unable to ask anything from Sindh government after 18th Constructional Amendment and expressed the confidence that Ravi Urban Project as well as central district and Naya Pakistan would generate considerable economic activities. We are coming hard against ‘Qabza Group’ (land grabbers), he said, adding that land grabbers in Lahore were very powerful because of their political connections.

The prime minister said that government would also unveil a food security plan next month – April 8-10 - and is developing master plan of all the big cities so that they would not be ring-fenced.

The special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari said that in the next phase, 1504 more units would be constructed.

He said this project is the beginning of providing low cost and affordable houses to the weak segments of the society.