Naya Pakistan Housing Programme enters practical phase

ISLAMABAD, Aug 16 (APP):Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP), a flagship project of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to provide affordable shelter to low earners has entered practical phase after groundbreaking of several schemes in different cities.
“The project is not only a step towards fulfilling the commitment made with the public by the government, but it would also help strengthen the national economy as almost 40 industries associated with the construction industry would get a substantial boost,” a senior official in the Ministry of Housing and Works told APP.

The task to construct five million units for meeting the housing shortage in the country was purely meant for low income and salaried people. The target would be achieved under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he added.

He said the ministry was confident about successful implementation of the NPHP and to ensure provision of low-cost residential units to the homeless people, besides creation of thousands of job opportunities in the fields related to construction industry.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched the second phase of registration for the NPHP last month for the low-income sections of the population.
The official said the required data was being compiled to assess the public needs and to execute the project.

Through the registration process, a clear picture of vital statistics relating to the housing project, including area preference, required finances and civic amenities would be obtained, he said.
“More than 500,000 people have applied to avail the facility, since the launch of the first phase of NPHP in October last year.”

He said a web portal (www.nphp.nadra.gov.pk) had been launched to enable applicants to get themselves registered without visiting National Database and Registration Authority’s E-Sahulat facility across the country.

The official highlighting the government’s efforts under the NPHP said the President had promulgated the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Ordinance, 2019, which was laid in the National Assembly last month to strengthen legal and administrative spheres to make the project a complete success.
This ordinance, the official said, had paved the way for establishing Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority for planning, development, construction and management of real estate development schemes and projects.

The newly established authority would help identify immovable properties and projects suitable for carrying out the development schemes, he said adding, “It will recommend the federal government to provide, or procure immovable property or project through any means permissible under law including compulsory acquisition, purchase, lease or license through private agreement, donation by any private party or any state land, or project by any government or other public authority on such terms as may be mutually agreed between the federal government and the relevant transferer or provider.”

The official said the legislation related to foreclosure laws would pave the way for finances in the housing sector which was lagging behind, as compared to the regional countries, for want of mortgage facilities to people by banks.
Currently, he said, only 0.2% people in Pakistan availed housing finance against 80% to 90% per cent in Europe, 30% in Malaysia and 10% in India.

He said Pakistan and the World Bank had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the housing sector, which had the potential to boost 40 other allied industries and provide sufficient opportunity to individuals, who wanted to invest in the sector.

The efforts, the official said, were being made in collaboration with Housing Task Force and respective city administration of Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Layyah, Bahawalpur, Vehari, Kasur, Sialkot, Jhelum, Gujranwala, Chishitan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh for speedy completion of the housing schemes.

Moreover, the Task Force also included Sukkur, Quetta, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Swat, and Islamabad in the NPHP, while the scope of the programme would be extended to other cities.
Recently, he said, a housing project had been launched on Angoori Road in Islamabad which would be completed in one and half years. Another project for construction of 110,000 units in Quetta and Gwadar, including 54,000 for fishermen, had been started while such projects would be initiated in other cities soon.

Balloting for houses in Kuchlak (Quetta) had been made in a bid to help the country’s long-neglected stratum move from slums (katchi abadis) or rental houses or apartments into swiftly constructed flats and high-rise buildings. This plan in Kuchlak includes construction of 600 flats and 750 houses.

He said the United Arab Emirates and China had also shown interest to invest in the project and more international investors were being welcomed. The scheme would have three to five marla houses, while a separate model for slum areas having two rooms, a kitchen and a small corridor had been prepared.
Currently, there are around 31.96 million houses in Pakistan, while it needed another 12 million units with ever increasing demand.

The country needed around seven million houses per annum, yet 2.5 million houses were being constructed presently. According to the official, the total estimated financing requirement for building five million houses would be around Rs 16 trillion. Out of which, 20 percent would be borne by the house owner while the remaining 80 percent would be provided through bank borrowings.

He said certain recommendations had been made for successful implementation of programme including adoption of a rent equalization model, low mark-up on bank loans, asking banks to increase limit for housing finance and reducing tax burden on banks on the portfolio allocated for housing finance and increase in capital adequacy ratio for banks.

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