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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that over 70,000 housing projects worth Rs1.4 trillion have been approved, which will have an overall impact of Rs7.3 trillion on the construction industry, and 1.2 million new jobs will be created.

“It is our government’s huge achievement that out of the total 80,000 applications, 35,420 applications amounting to Rs130 billion have been approved. A total of Rs46 billion has been disbursed to 13,407 applicants so far,” he said, while chairing a meeting of the NCC on Housing, Construction and Development, here on Thursday.

He added that applications worth Rs7 billion are being received weekly out of which Rs4 billion are approved and Rs2 billion is being disbursed every week, which shows that the devised system is working efficiently. “PTI’s government has achieved huge milestones regarding provision of low-cost housing to lower and middle-income class,” he added. He further said the government’s biggest challenge was to change the elitist mindset of financial institutions and ensure facilitation of common people in getting loans.

Average loan worth 36 lakhs in the approved and disbursed loans figure shows that the biggest beneficiary of subsidized loans is the middle- and lower-income class, he said.

In the last three years of the government, a 148 percent increase in housing finance and expected approval of Rs517 billion till December 2022, reflects the steps taken by the government to facilitate low-cost housing and construction industry, he added.

Housing Finance: Growth, but!

The prime minister said that in line with the manifesto of the PTI, the government is moving in the direction to add one percent every year in the housing finance against our GDP that will result in a construction boom and provision of houses to the lower and middle income class.

The meeting was briefed that for the very first time in the history of Pakistan, a sustainable ecosystem for low-cost housing has been developed and implemented, which has enabled the sector to achieve exponential growth.

The Foreclosure Law has been implemented in letter and spirit and long-term loans (up to 20 years) with subsidized mark-up (as low as only two percent) are being given. In addition to that a cost subsidy of Rs300,000 for low-income housing schemes and 90 percent tax waiver has resulted in encouraging the private sector, which is actively participating in the construction of housing units under the schemes.

The projects include urban, peri-urban, urban regeneration, government-funded and private sector projects.

The meeting was also briefed about the transparent and automated process to receive and process the applications, which has resulted in targeting the needful lower and middle-income class.

This is being ensured by the development of one-window digital portal with automated application tracking system by development authorities.

The meeting was also briefed on figures regarding the total low-cost housing construction activity so far after 2018. A total of 161,924 low-cost housing units were approved, out of which 45,191 units are under construction and 20,898 units have been completed, which is significant, bearing in mind that before the subsidies by the government, foreclosure law and low-cost housing schemes by the PTI’s government, the sector was in a shambles.

A break-up of the government financed low-cost housing projects was also given according to which 4,000 units in Farash Town, 4,000 units in LDA City, 1,320 units in Jalozai, 245 units in Raiwind, 324 units in Sargodha and Chiniot, and 1,800 units at Angoori Road are being constructed with completion deadlines before the end of 2022.

The meeting was also told that a total of 2,507 projects worth Rs627 billion have been registered on the FBR Portal under Fixed Tax Regime, which have an impact of Rs3.135 trillion on the economy. The prime minister directed to complete the projects in the defined timelines and emphasised to take steps to improve and ease the process for low-cost housing projects. The meeting was attended by federal ministers, Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Fawad Chaudhary, Minister for State Farrukh Habib, SAPM Dr Shehbaz Gill, governor State Bank, chairman NAPHDA, Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider (retired), CEO RUDA Imran Amin, chief secretaries of Punjab and Balochistan, and concerned senior officials.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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