ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday laid the foundation of a mega project to build 18,500 housing units mainly for the low-income group as part of his government’s dream to construct five million houses across the country.
Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister said, “Out of 18,500 units to be built in Zone-IV of the federal capital, 10,000 will be specified for the low-income group, who will be able to own a house through easy banking loans.”
The ceremony was also attended by Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Senator Faisal Javed and Member of the National Assembly Asad Umar, besides a huge number of people, most of whom came there with the hope of their dream of owning a house in the federal capital coming true.
The prime minister said, “The government's role will be confined to facilitation as well as provision of land to the private contractors, who will execute the project as the government does not have sufficient resources to fund such a huge project.”
He said through necessary legislation, the government would ensure controlling the prices of housing units so that a salaried person or any other from the low-income group could afford them easily.
The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque to launch work on the housing project, said it would take another one-and-a-half years to complete.
He said owing to possibly a huge number of applicants as compared with the availability of houses, the government would allot the units through balloting.
He said the government would also launch such housing projects in other cities by engaging the private sector.
He said, “In Karachi, around 30 to 40 per cent people live in slums having neither any ownership rights nor the amenities like sewerage and others.”
For the Sindh metropolis, the government would offer around half of the slums land to the private parties for construction of commercial areas and build reasonable houses for the slum dwellers on rest of the portion.
The prime minister told the gathering that in the federal capital too, the government was planning to build such units for the slum dwellers for which it had identified two sectors. Such experiments had already stood successful in Mumbai, Turkey and Malaysia, he added.
He said in Pakistan, the poor people could not afford their own houses mainly because the banks did not provide them mortgage facility. The government was in the process of promulgating new laws to make the banks extend housing loans to the poor that had so far been available only to the rich class, he added.
He said in Malaysia, the housing loans ratio stood at around 10 per cent and 80 to 90 per cent in the United Kingdom and the United States, but in Pakistan it was far below at just 0.2 per cent pro-rich bank loans facility.
The prime minister said the government was also struggling to bring in foreign investors in the housing sector and reiterated his resolve to accomplish the task of five million houses in the country to bridge the housing shortage and make the poor people own their own house.