PM asks banks to make easy loans ‘easier’

Imran says self-esteem of the poor availing facility must not be hurt

Rizwan Shehzad   October 22, 2020

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday stressed the need for banks to further facilitate citizens in availing easy loans for building their own homes.

Chairing the weekly meeting of the National Coordination Committee for Housing, Construction and Development, the premier emphasised that the banks must also ensure that the loans were disbursed to the poor without hurting their self-esteem.

The State Bank governor and the heads of National Bank, Allied Bank, Meezan Bank, Bank Al Habib, Habib Bank and Bank of Punjab briefed the prime minister on the provision of easy loans to people belonging to the poor and middle class. They also informed him about the provision of loans under the New Pakistan Housing Programme.

The SBP governor told PM Imran that separate desks had been set up at bank branches for those seeking to avail the easy loan facility. He added that private banks would provide loans under both the Islamic and traditional banking system.

The heads of the banks assured the prime minister of their full cooperation in promoting the construction sector and making it easier for the poor to have their own homes.

They lauded the premier and his economic team for facilitating the business community, including banks, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

During the briefing, PM Imran was told that technology was being used to quickly verify borrowers’ data. He was also informed that more private banks would soon start providing easy loans. Technology has been used to simplify the process for availing easy loans and shorten the disbursement process.

The Punjab chief secretary informed the participants of the meeting that the online portal for the construction sector had been launched and 6,994 applications were received so far of which 54 had been approved.

The chief secretary said that the relevant agencies have also been linked to the online portal so that the approval process would not be delayed.

Each process of the approval of each case is time-bound and the applicant is informed about their status through a mobile application.

Last week, the premier was informed that the construction of over 100,000 housing units would be completed by 2021 and the construction industry was expected to generate an economic activity of roughly Rs422 billion in Punjab alone in the same period.

Apart from the ones that are expected to be completed by the end of the next year, 44,039 more housing units will become a reality through the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) and Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Foundation schemes in the coming years.

PM Imran had said the construction sector was of key importance in accelerating the economic process and reviving the coronavirus-affected economy.

He directed the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman, the provincial chief secretaries and other officials to pay full attention to the development of the construction sector to avoid delay at any stage.

The premier had formed the NCC on Housing, Construction and Development to provide affordable housing projects for the low income segments of the society as envisaged in the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.

Separately while chairing a meeting on reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue, the prime minister highlighted the importance of simplifying the taxation system for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The premier said the promotion of SMEs was among the top priorities of the government.

Special Assistant Dr Waqar Masood briefed the premier on the FBR reforms. The prime minister directed that technology should be introduced in the FBR and taxation system to ensure transparency. He also said unnecessary withholding taxes should be eliminated and the system for taxpayers to file their returns should be made easier.

PM Imran also met a delegation of the country’s leading exporters and assured them that their suggestions and proposals would be taken into consideration for the convenience of the business community.

The prime minister said the development of industrial sector would not only accelerate the economic activities in the country, but also create jobs and generate wealth.

The delegation included prominent business personalities from the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce, the Pakistan Business Council, and the automobiles, tanners, hosiery, fisheries, pharmaceutical, steel and textile sectors.


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