ISLAMABAD, Mar 11: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched the low cost finance scheme for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government's flagship project of constructing five million housing units in the country.
Addressing the launch ceremony here, the prime minister said besides addressing housing issues at affordable cost, the project would be a force multiplier giving momentum to economic activities through the creation of jobs and boosting 40 allied industries.
He said a huge population of Pakistan was cash starved and could not afford to build houses, that was why the government was going to finance them for the purpose.
Imran Khan said the present government had different mindset from the past regimes as it was focusing on poverty alleviation like China, which had lifted some 700 million people rural areas out of poverty with planning.
The low cost housing project was a component of the PTI government's planning for poverty alleviation, he added.
The prime minister appreciated State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa for launching the financing facility for low cost housing project at low interest rate, besides providing cash loan facility to small growers and small and medium enterprises (SME) sector. The SMEs were the backbone of economy and with the cash loans, they would not only boost but also provide jobs to the people, he added.
He said the housing financing facility in Pakistan was just 0.2 percent while it was 10 percent in India, 30 percent in Malaysia and 80 percent in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The prime Minister also appreciated the steps to include the people of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas – who had suffered a lot due to war on terrorism – transgenders and under-privileged segments of the society in the scheme.
Imran Khan said a social welfare state of Pakistan was the great dream of the forefathers, but unfortunately the present day Pakistan had become a country of the powerful and elites.
The PTI government was developing Pakistan on the pattern which had been dreamt by the forefathers, he added.
The prime minister also announced to bring an ambitious programme for the slums, for which the private sector developers would be encouraged to build flats with all facilities.
The flats would be allotted to the slum dwellers on ownership basis, he added.
He said efforts were being made to check spreading cities, which were engulfing cultivated land and creating climate issues. The construction of high-rise buildings would be encouraged to protect green areas and Islamabad would be made a model city with vertical buildings, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Asad Umar said it was in the PTI's manifesto to provide all possible facilities to the downtrodden segments of the society.
He said presently Pakistan had a backlog of 10 million housing units and bank financing was a must to achieve the target of constructing five million low cost houses.
“It is our constitutional responsibility to provide ceiling to the people,” he added.
Asad Umar said housing schemes for the federal government employees would also be launched in 12 cities.
Highlighting salient features of the low cost housing finance scheme, the SBP Governor said the central bank had prioritized three sectors, including agriculture, SMEs and low cost housing project, for bank landing.
He said a housing unit costing less than Rs 3 million would be funded under the scheme. The banks would provide loan up to Rs 2.7 million under the scheme. The banks and other financial institutions were being incentivized to extend loans for the scheme, he added.
Tariq Bajwa said special segments, including widows, orphans, transgenders, martyrs and people living in war against terror hit areas would be given priority under the scheme, which would be available for the construction of new houses. The new housing units could neither be rented out nor sold, he added.
He said the low cost financing would be made available for 100,000 housing units at the mark-up rate of 5 percent for 12.5 years.