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PM launched low-cost finance scheme housing unit

12 March, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: 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 an affordable cost, the project will 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 is cash-starved and cannot afford to build houses, that is why the government is going to finance them for the purpose. Imran Khan said the present government has different mindset from the past regimes as it is focusing on poverty alleviation like China which has lifted some 700 million people living in rural areas out of poverty. The low-cost housing project is a component of 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 a lower interest rate besides providing cash loan facility to small growers and small and medium enterprises sector. The SMEs are the backbone of economy and with the cash loans, they will not only boost but also provide jobs to the people, he said, adding the house financing facility in Pakistan is 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 taken to include the people of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas who have suffered a lot due to war on terrorism, transgender and the under-privileged segments of the society in the scheme.

“A social welfare state of Pakistan was the great dream of our forefathers, but unfortunately the present day Pakistan has become a country of the powerful and the elite,” the prime minister said, adding that the PTI government is developing Pakistan on the pattern which had been dreamt by the forefathers.

The prime minister also announced to bring an ambitious programme for the slums, for which the private sector developers will be encouraged to build flats with all facilities. The flats will be allotted to the slum dwellers on ownership basis, he added.

He said efforts are being made to check spreading cities, which is engulfing cultivated land and creating climate issues. The construction of high-rise buildings will be encouraged to protect green areas and Islamabad will be made a model city with vertical buildings, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Asad Umar said it is in the PTI’s manifesto to provide all possible facilities to the downtrodden segments of the society. He said presently Pakistan has a backlog of 10 million housing units and bank financing is 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 said, and added that housing schemes for the federal government employees will also be launched in 12 cities.

Highlighting salient features of the low-cost housing finance scheme, the SBP governor said the central bank has 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 will be funded under the scheme. The banks will provide loan up to Rs 2.7 million under the scheme. The banks and other financial institutions are being incentivized to extend loans for the scheme, he added.

Tariq Bajwa said special segments, including widows, orphans, transgender, martyrs and people living in war against terror-hit areas will be given priority under the scheme, which will be available for the construction of new houses.

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