ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the commitment to uplift the weak and underprivileged segments of the society.The Prime Minister said this while addressing a ceremony in connection with allotment of 1,500 houses and flats to the working class under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme. The project was initiated as part of a joint collaboration among the Workers Welfare Fund, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development.
“I want to congratulate Zulfi Bukhari [Minister for Overseas Pakistanis], Workers Welfare Fund and their team for reviving the 25-year-old project and providing the people with their own houses,” he added.”In the last 25 years, no one had thought about making this a priority and providing houses to those who can’t afford to have their own residence,” the Premier said. “This is the true meaning of Naya Pakistan – a new idea and mindset of a government, deciding to uplift the destitute segments of the society,” the PM remarked.
He said it was a collective responsibility of a government to prove through its actions that it has new ideas to serve its people. “It is a right of this segment of the society and we owe it to them,” he maintained.The Prime Minister said that it is very difficult for the salaried class, workers and labourers to construct or purchase a house in the cities due to soaring prices of land. He said the government has started the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme with a new mindset to provide support to these segments of the society to own a house.
He pointed out that the government has introduced a legislation under which the banks will provide loans on five percent interest rate for the construction of houses. He said the banks have promised to set aside Rs380 billion for this purpose. He directed the State Bank of Pakistan to ensure that these loans are easily available to the people. He said these loans can be repaid over a period of twenty years.
The Prime Minister assured to allocate more funds for the housing programme with the increase in the revenue of the government so that the working and the salaried class could build their houses.
Imran Khan said there is a boom in the construction industry due to the incentives given by the present government. He said that this will not only lead to wealth creation but also provide job opportunities to the youth.
Later talking to the media persons, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to launch a plan next month regarding food security.
He said that master plans are being prepared for the big cities which will encourage vertical construction and help check their haphazard growth. The Prime Minister said a struggle has been waged against the land grabbers. He pointed out that Rs200 billion of land has been recovered in Punjab from the land mafia.
Imran Khan said special courts have also been established for early disposal of cases relating to overseas Pakistanis. He said that giving incentives in the construction sector will also yield positive results. He said the construction sector will flourish owing to the steps taken by the government. He said the government is committed to provide ease to the general public.
Responding to a question, the Prime Minister was confident that the impact of projects including the one in the housing sector will be visible in the next two-and-a-half years of the government.
He said, “The government is going to give a subsidy amounting to Rs0.1 million on every house for the next three years.” If there is a subsidy on a house that costs Rs2.1 million, it will come down to a cost of Rs1.8 million, he explained. “The cost of Rs1.8 million essentially means that instalments will be reduced as well, enabling people to pay the instalments while living in the house,” he said.
Responding to another question on the role of provinces regarding the five million houses’ scheme, he said, “We are in contact with the provinces, and though we don’t receive much response from Sindh, the scheme is in full swing in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as Balochistan, especially after the passage of foreclosure law,” PM Imran added.
Regarding future projects, he said, “The Bundle Island, for which the Sindh government isn’t giving us permission, Ravi Project and Central Business District at Walton Airport are in the pipeline.”
“The Ravi and Central Business District projects alone can help us complete the housing scheme,” the Premier opined. He said that some 7,800 houses have already been built for the unprivileged, and interest-free loans are being provided to them.