Islamabad, March 29: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday announced that massive housing project to build five million units, mainly for low-income group, would be launched by next month to cope with the shortage of around 10 million houses in the country.
Addressing the “Pakistan Housing Conference: Institutional Preparedness to implement New Housing Strategy”, organized by the World Bank, the prime minister said though the achievement of the ambitious target of five million houses was difficult, the government was in process of establishing the required infrastructure before its launch.
The event was attended by Advisor to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Housing Task Force Zaigham Rizvi, Country Director World Bank Illango Patchamuthu and international experts on housing and house financing.
The prime minister said the government was formulating foreclosure laws in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan, as the country lacked mortgage facility for low-income group.
He said after launch, the project would also face an incremental increase every year. He said the private sector would support to achieve this gigantic task and the government would merely act as facilitator.
He told the audience that the growth of 40 industries was linked with the housing sector and the government desired the youngsters to come up in this project and form new companies.
He said under this scheme, the poor would be provided house financing that was just a dream in the past as all the facilities like loans, English medium schools, hospitals and subsidies were enjoyed by the elite class.
He said in case anyone would be unable to afford the house-finance, the government would also get him sponsored as the people would be able to pour their money once their trust in government was revived.
He said the slums in the federal capital lacked amenities and instead of addressing the issue, the elite class built boundary walls around to conceal the ill-planned inhabitation.
However, he said Naya Pakistan Housing Programme included measures to regularize the slums and accommodate the inhabitants in new houses or condominium-styled buildings. The private sector would build these units at cost of commercial areas to be developed at the land.
The prime minister said the government had decided to allow maximum vertical buildings all around except within the landing and take-off zones of the airports. The vertical constructions would help save the arable land being eaten up by the massive growth of the housing societies.
Lauding the performance of the Housing Task Force, the prime minister said the body would also benefit from the Singapore style of housing to ensure the efficient use of land.
He said the government had asked all the departments to submit details of their land bank and lamented the officers’ mindset of concealing the information because the land grabbers had been occupying the land with their connivance. He said the government had decided to initiate criminal cases against the officials involved in such wrongdoings.
He said in Islamabad, the government had retrieved land worth Rs500 billion from illegal occupants, not the poor residents.
He said housing programme would also benefit the tribal areas through the house financing as the area had suffered a lot due to lawlessness.
The prime minister said the project had drawn surprising response from Chinese as well as Malaysian companies and lauded the World Bank for hosting the much-needed workshops on the housing sector.