Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government will facilitate the construction sector in order to provide the people of Pakistan with affordable housing.
The premier expressed these views at a ceremony in Islamabad, after laying the foundation stone of seven housing projects aimed at building 20,000 housing units at a cost of Rs100 billion, according to Radio Pakistan.
According to the report, six of the projects pertain to the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority while one other will be executed by the Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation.
Speaking during today's ceremony, the prime minister stated that whenever there is a project that is "off the trodden path", it is always viewed with scepticism.
"But this will only get easier as we move forward. The government never had money to make 5 million homes, they were always going to be built by the private sector. The government was always going to facilitate this. Today marks the start of this journey," he said.
He pointed out that in a large part of the world, houses are financed by banks, adding that financing in Pakistan stood at 0.2 per cent.
Imran expressed that he was aware the country's interest rate was very high.
"It was necessary for us to keep our monetary policy, our interest rates high due to the state of our economy. But, the data shows that inflation has gone down, which will also drag down interest rates, ultimately making it easier for citizens to take loans in order to finance the construction of their homes."
Elaborating on the way forward, Imran stated that the government is working on removing obstacles in the way of the construction sector so that they are able to provide affordable housing to people.
"The Naya Pakistan Housing Authority will not only provide housing to federal employees but will also, at the same time, strengthen the various industries associated with it, thereby creating employment authorities for the youth."
The premier also criticised the horizontal development of cities, saying that there needs to be a new master plan for the country's cities. "Cities, even villages, are spreading [expanding horizontally]. This is having an impact on pollution levels and is also affecting food security."
"There needs to be vertical expansion of our cities," he said, adding that the government has made this process easier by removing certain restrictions in place.
Overhaul in education sector
Speaking on education, the prime minister said that the real challenge, however, was the country's schooling system.
"The government's schooling system is a challenge because it has been neglected for the past 70 years; we have made a three-tiered system.
"We have to make one core system. Our federal education ministry is working on introducing one core syllabus by next year."
Imran stated that this was needed in order to eliminate the different "cultures" that were being developed in the country.
Referencing Aurat March held on Sunday to mark International Women's Day, Imran said: "You could see the different cultures within the country. This stems from our schooling system. We teach one culture in one school which does not have any relation to other schooling systems.
"This is not how a nation is made," he concluded.