Housing will no longer be affordable for the rich only, promised Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He launched the ‘Naya’ Pakistan Housing Project on Wednesday. The scheme was a part of the PTI’s election manifesto, which promised five million houses for the poor.
Khan, while addressing the ceremony, said that at least 40 industries are directly related to housing. The government will make a Naya Pakistan Housing Authority to ensure the construction and form a 17-member task force to look after housing affairs.
He said that a land bank, which will only cater to loans and financial dealings of properties, will be formed too. To gauge the demand for housing, the government will hold a registration drive in different districts of Pakistan. “A pilot project will be launched in seven districts,” he said. Investment in the construction sector will help generate more jobs too.
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The government has decided to provide houses to the people on easy installments. It will build 2.5 million houses in the first phase, and another 2.5 million in the second phase.
When the PTI government came into power, it got a Rs18 billion deficit as a ‘gift’ from the previous government, he said. “The previous governments have taken loans mercilessly. We don’t have enough dollars to pay back our loans.”
Pakistan had two options to repay its loan; seek help from its allies or approach the International Monetary Fund. “We decided to approach both,” he said. The premier remarked that the country is headed for a ‘rough time’ ahead, but people shouldn’t worry. “Our issue is only $10 billion to 12 billion.”
In Pakistan, cities are planned in favour of housing for the rich and the middle classes. Over half of Karachi lives in areas that started as slums. Very little land is set aside for low-cost housing for the poor.