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Pakistan

World Bank approves $435mn for Pakistan’s housing projects

  • Financing will expand access to housing finance particularly for low-income households, improve land tenure rights and facilitate affordable housing developments in urban Punjab
Updated 11 Mar, 2022

The World Bank’s (WB) Board of Executive Directors approved on Friday $435 million in financing for three projects in Pakistan.

The projects – the Pakistan Housing Finance project, the Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement project and the Punjab Affordable Housing Program – will expand access to housing finance, particularly for low-income households, improve land tenure rights and facilitate affordable housing developments in urban Punjab, said the World Bank in a statement.

“Affordable and accessible housing is in high-demand in Pakistan, which is home to over 200 million people and is the most urbanised country in South Asia,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

“These projects will contribute to addressing housing needs, particularly for low-income households, by leveraging the private sector and by facilitating access to mortgage options for those who currently cannot access financing to buy a home.

They will also strengthen property rights and increase the supply of climate-resilient, affordable housing developments.“

WB highlights ‘deficiencies’ in EE&C-2022

Additional financing of $85 million has been approved for Pakistan Housing Finance Project to scale up the credit risk-sharing facility launched in 2018. Financing has been approved to provide partial credit guarantees to banks to incentivise them to lend to borrowers traditionally excluded from commercial financing.

The funding will benefit up to 70,000 first-time homebuyers in the country, who qualify for the government’s interest rate subsidy program - Mera Pakistan, Mera Ghar (My Pakistan, My Home).

Meanwhile, $150 million has been approved for Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement Project.

WB in its statement said that the project will support the provincial government in upgrading its land registry by creating a digital, province-wide inventory of lands and deeds.

“This will help secure land tenure and streamline procedures for land-related permits – which are essential for private sector investment, housing finance and tax revenue collection,” said WB.

PACE-II loan: WB not satisfied with prior actions

Furthermore, $200 million has been allotted for Punjab Affordable Housing Program to increase the availability of affordable housing, particularly for low-income households in the province.

“The program will enhance government systems to create an enabling environment that attracts private financing for mixed-income housing developments. It will also help the government better target subsidies of the Naya Pakistan Housing Program for low-income households,” WB stated.

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