Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed investors who are going to be investing in Pakistan’s housing sector and thanked them for being part of the first effort to provide low-cost housing in the country.
He said the project to provide prefabricated houses, which is being undertaken with the help of the Henan DR Construction Group, is integral as it will generate employment and provide homes to people who cannot otherwise afford them. Prefabricated homes are those which are manufactured off-site and then shipped and assembled.
Speaking at the inauguration of the project on Wednesday, the premier said prefab housing is easier, cheaper and much quicker. In Gwadar, a five-star hotel was completed and fully functioning in just six months, he said.
Around 40% of Karachi lives in shanty towns or katchi abadis, said PM Khan, adding that in Lahore and Islamabad there are shanty towns in key areas as well. A problem with providing housing, is how you build flats for people and where you put thousands of people during the two to three years the apartments take to be constructed, he said. “With prefab housing, we will be able to shift and settle people in their new homes in around four to five months.”
This is especially important in areas where land is extremely expensive, explained PM Khan. He added that the government will quickly be able to utilitize the land, commercialize part of it and use the proceeds to build cheap housing for people who cant afford it.
The premier said this approach has been successful in both India and Turkey. The quicker the factory is relocated to Pakistan, the quicker we will be able to provide these homes, he added.
He also counted agriculture as an area where Pakistan needs help, because its productivity is very low. With Chinese technology, we could improve productivity, which would have an impact on our growth rate and help raise income levels in rural areas, he said. Pakistan derives 25% of its GDP from agriculture, he said.
By increasing production, there would be an immediate impact on the growth rate in Pakistan and a reduction in poverty, he added.
The third place where Pakistan needs help is boosting its exports, said the prime minister. We are grappling with balance of payment issues, a current account deficit and we need to increase our foreign exchange reserves, he said, adding that a way to boost this would be relocation of industry from China. Vietnam has already benefited from this, he added.
The government is trying to make it easy for investors and bring down the cost of doing business, he added. “We hope to attract the private sector from China to relocate industry here,” said the premier.