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The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will directly monitor the PTI-led government's project to build five million low-cost houses across the country, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn on Monday.

The decision to take the project's supervision from the Ministry of Housing and Works and bring it under PMO was taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure that the project is carried out smoothly.

During a meeting held at the PM's Office, the housing secretary told PM Khan about the problems arising in the execution of the project, including the shortfall in demand in the housing sector.

He also briefed the premier on the steps needed to ensure the availability of land and acquiring funds to fulfil the cost of the scheme.

The secretary suggested that the government should take necessary administrative and legal measures required in order to attract investments from the private sector, a suggestion in line with the premier's earlier announcement encouraging local and foreign businessmen to invest in the scheme.

PM Khan stressed that the regularisation of slum areas and construction of five million houses equipped with all basic facilities was one of the foremost priorities of the PTI government.

He also pointed out that the scheme will generate several jobs and provide business to industries linked to the housing sector along with providing shelter to the homeless.

Regarding the availability of land, the prime minister insisted that state-owned properties, including guest houses and accommodations in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, could generate billions of rupees for the scheme.

Earlier today, PM Khan had tweeted figures, saying that Pakistan "is sitting on huge amounts of dead capital... in the form of this govt-owned land with buildings". He has also repeatedly said that he will use government buildings for the public's benefit.

Talking to Dawn after the meeting, the information minister said that the government aims to "acquire the illegal land from the rich and influential and give it to the poor". He added that the anti-encroachment drive currently underway in various cities was also part of the scheme.

Chaudhry said that the government will soon reveal all the details of the five million housing scheme.