Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Pakistan government will provide 90 per cent housing finance to deserving people as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s flagship project to construct five million houses in the country.

Imran has launched a low-cost finance scheme to kick-start his much publicised affordable housing project for the poor. The project, he said, would also help economic activities through the creation of jobs and promote 40 industries connected to construction sector. During his election campaign, Imran had promised to build five million housing units to overcome the shortage of affordable housing in the country.

Speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad, Imran said that a huge segment of Pakistan’s population is cash-starved and could not afford to build houses, and that's why the government is stepping in to help.

Housing units costing less than Rs3 million (Dh80,000) would be funded under the scheme. The banks would provide loan up to Rs2.7 million — 90 per cent of the total amount — under the scheme.

The banks and other financial institutions are being incentivised to extend loans for the scheme. Special segments, including widows, orphans, transgenders, martyrs’ families and people living in war-against-terror hit areas would be given priority under the house financing scheme.

The new housing units could neither be rented out nor sold by the owners. The low-cost financing would be made available to at least 100,000 housing units at the mark-up rate of 5 per cent for 12.5 years.

Imran said the low-cost housing project was a component of the PTI government’s planning for poverty alleviation.

The prime minister appreciated State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa for launching the financing facility for the low-cost housing project at low interest rates, besides providing cash loan facility to small growers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector.

Currently, the house financing facility in Pakistan is just 0.2 per cent while it is 10 per cent in India, 30 per cent in Malaysia and 80 per cent in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Imran also appreciated the steps to include the people of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas — who had suffered a lot due to war on terrorism — transgender and under-privileged segments of the society in the scheme.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Asad Umar said it was in the PTI’s manifesto to provide all possible facilities to the downtrodden.

He said, currently Pakistan has a backlog of 10 million housing units and bank financing is a must to achieve the target of constructing five-million low-cost houses. Umar said housing schemes for the federal government employees would also be launched in 12 cities. (with inputs by APP)