ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced Rs30 billion in subsidy for the Naya Pakistan housing scheme in line with helping the underprivileged class build their own homes. Addressing the nation after chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction, and Development, PM Imran said the scheme was aimed at the “working class, the welder, the small shop owner, who do not have a lot of money to build their own houses”. “The goal of the Naya Pakistan housing scheme was to construct houses for this strata of the society, which doesn’t have cash. “We faced many hindrances while launching the scheme due to some existing legislation, such as the foreclosure law, which allows banks not to lend out money without a confirmation of repayment of instalments. “[However] despite a lot of hurdles, we are almost successful in passing the law for Pakistan, which is now implemented around the world,” he said. The prime minister also spoke of the construction sector, saying it faced a lot of obstacles — including taxes, delays in permissions leading to petitions, utility issues — but that the NCC on Housing, Construction, and Development had worked on formulating policies for its revival. He stressed on the coronavirus-induced global recession, as well as the measures being taken by the governments around the world to help restart their economies. “We have decided to revive our economy with housing and construction industry so that people can get jobs and we can generate revenue in times of global recession and pandemic,” he noted. “I, myself, will preside this meeting every week to supervise the working and progress of the committee regarding the Naya Pakistan housing scheme. The committee will also review hindrances the construction industry faces — this has never been done in Pakistan ever before. “Considering our international obligations, we only have time till December 31 to provide incentives to the construction industry,” he added.PM Imran explained that under the Naya Pakistan housing scheme, Rs30 billion had been allocated as a subsidy, which would translate into Rs300,000 for each of the 100,000 households during the first phase of the programme. A 5% interest is levied on a five-marla house and 7% for 10-marla, he noted. “We have also directed the SBP [State Bank of Pakistan] to keep 5% of the portfolio for the construction industry, which is calculated to be Rs330 billion,” he said. The government had coordinated with all of the provinces for a one-window operation so as not to have people worry about obtaining no-objection certificates (NOCs), the premier announced, adding that there would be a time limit for the approvals of houses maps. “We have reduced provincial taxes so that people can benefit more and more with the subsidies,” he added. PM Imran mentioned yet another relaxation in terms of questions about the sources of investment, saying it would not be questioned only during the ongoing year “due to recession caused by the coronavirus”. “We have requested the global financial bodies for these subsidies because most of our economy is undocumented. Therefore, I would request people to make the most benefit from these incentives. “We are hoping that these incentives will create employment opportunities for people in these hard times of pandemic,” he said. “Around the world, banks provide loans for construction but banks in Pakistan only provide 0.2% loans — which is quite less.”
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