ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Thursday said the government would provide apartments worth Rs3.5 million each to the needy and middle-class people on a monthly installment of Rs14,000 and that a total of Rs378 billion was being spent by the Naya Pakistan Housing Development Authority during the current financial year on the project.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Gill said the owner of an apartment would pay back the amount in almost 21 years, adding that the government had recently released Rs4 billion to finance 8,000 low-cost apartments.
“We will not give plots to the people for constructing houses, but apartments. We want to go vertical, not horizontal, to save the land and avoid undue expansion of cities,” he said.
“On the construction of the first 100,000 apartments, the government would pay Rs300,000 per apartment as subsidy to low-income owners. Banks would give loans of Rs3.5 million in easy instalment of Rs14,000 per month,” he said.
Says government approved 403 commercial projects in 40 days
Dr Gill said the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority had constructed and handed over 7,485 apartments to low-income people in the country and the government had approved mortgage laws and changed the tax regime to facilitate the housing sector.
“Since the approval of the mortgage laws, banks have started issuing loans for constructing apartments and those banks refusing to give housing loans would be made accountable,” Dr Gill said, adding that the government had also provided an enabling environment to help the construction of apartments as the country had been facing shortage of around 15 million houses.
“With the construction of five million apartments, about 33 per cent need of houses would be met in the country,” he said.
The SAPM said that banks would be providing 80 per cent of loans with five to seven per cent of interest rate on the actual price of the apartment and the remaining 20 per cent would be borne by the apartment owner.
In reply to a question, he said that the government had approved digitalisation of the land record and it was abolishing Patwari system in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to bring transparency in the purchase and sale of land.
Similarly, he said, the record of housing societies in the ICT would be uploaded on the website of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for getting online information and checking their NOCs’ status,” he said.
Dr Gill said that the government had approved some 403 commercial projects in the last 40 days whereas approval of other 78 projects was in the pipeline.
The federal government, he said, would approve some 11 new commercial projects next week. While sharing the progress of the Punjab government, the PM’s aide said that the PTI-led provincial government had approved 700 projects over the last seven months whereas the Sindh government had approved only 19 projects over the last four months.
He said the prime minister had given instructions for establishing a top level commission in Punjab to investigate and point out irregularities in housing societies. The commission would submit recommendations to the federal government in one year.
Commenting on the prime minister’s austerity drive, he said Mr Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka had cost only $34,800 to the government whereas Nawaz Sharif had spent some $276,000 during his visit to the same country in 2016.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021