ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Housing and Works on Thursday informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Rs650 billion worth of 1,000 housing units included in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme (NPHS) had been originally launched by the previous PML-N government.
The new housing units to be constructed by the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NPHDA) under the prime minister’s NPHS would be initiated in April, Housing Secretary Imran Zeb Khan informed the committee during a discussion on the audit report of the Pakistan Public Works Department for the financial year 2019-20. He said the construction of houses under the NPHS was being planned at three different forums.
The secretary informed the committee that the Ministry of Housing and Works, Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation Authority and Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation (PHAF) had started projects worth Rs650 billion for construction of 1,000 housing units. He said these units had been launched by the PML-N government, but due to litigation development work on them could not move forward.
He said that besides the affected land owners, some people had also gone into litigation against the projects at the Park Road. He said the Supreme Court had recently decided a case pertaining to development of Sector F-14 and F-15 of Islamabad and work on these sectors as well as the projects of the PHAF was now in full swing.
New housing units to be built under Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme will be initiated in April
Mr Khan said the ministry had received Rs830 billion in expression of interest from the private sector under the scheme, adding that the ministry and its autonomous bodies were not taking even a single rupee from the government for the housing schemes, but it was bridging the gap between the private sector and the clients.
“The private sector is investing in the construction sector and we provide them clientele by sharing data of those who got registered with us,” the secretary said.
He said the ministry was also working with Akhuwat, an interest-free micro-finance institution, for construction of low-cost housing units. He said that Akhuwat had disbursed Rs350bn for construction of 8,000 low-cost housing units.
Mr Khan said that the NPHDA had also received proposals for constructing housing units at mass scale. He, however, said the development phase for the NPHDA projects would start by April this year.
He said the government had completed the survey on the overall housing requirements and had identified reasons for the shortage of residential units, adding that the government was facilitating the masses to acquire loans for construction of houses. According to him, for housing units of up to five marlas, banks are giving Rs3 million as loan with five per cent mark-up and for up to 10-marla housing units, the mark-up rate is 7pc.
Moreover, he said the process to secure loan had been simplified. He said that earlier it took two-and-a-half years to secure loan from a bank, but now the government had introduced a one-window facility to obtain loan and set a deadline to complete the process within three months.
He said the prime minister was also showing great interest in the construction of housing units under the NPHS and the departments concerned briefed him on the scheme on a weekly basis.
Acting director general of the Pakistan Public Works Department Zahoor Ahmed briefed the PAC on the maintenance of government houses. He said the finance ministry had refused to release funds to replace the dilapidated marble from the walls of the Prime Minister House.
PAC chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain directed Mr Ahmed to concentrate on the dilapidated houses of lower-grade employees of the federal government since they could not afford any repair and maintenance work of their houses.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021