Keep calm and carry on: PM

The project will build accommodations for those who earn Rs10,000 – 25,000 a month

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD:

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Naya Pakistan Housing Project during a special ceremony at Prime the Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

Giving details of the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the prime minister revealed that five million affordable houses will be constructed in five years targeting the low-income segments of society.

The scheme will bring long-due prosperity in the country, he said, adding that at least 40 other industries connecting with housing will also be set in motion as soon as construction is started for the project in urban as well as rural areas.

“The target of this (plan) is the common man, who could not even think about owning a house.”

He said while citizens of many other countries build their houses through loans, only 0.25 per cent of Pakistani citizens take loans for the purpose due to a lack of appropriate legal structures. The government’s housing policy will seek to eliminate these hurdles, he said.

The construction for the scheme will be carried out by the private sector, while the government will facilitate it by removing hurdles and providing the land for the construction.

In this regard, the prime minister announced the formation of the ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Authority’ that will provide one-window operations to facilitate the construction industry. The authority will be set up in three months, while a 17-member task force will oversee the housing project until then.

“Our target is to build five million homes in five years. The homes are to be made for the common man, who earns Rs10,000 – 25,000 a month.”

The government will also locate katchi abadis across the country and regularise them, he announced.

He disclosed that a 60-day pilot project will be commenced tomorrow in coordination with the National Database and Registration Authority in seven districts to assess the demand and payment capacity for affordable houses.

He said he will present a roadmap before the nation listing steps the government will take to stabilise the economy.

“Have courage, there is nothing to worry about,” the prime minister said, assuring the nation that the turbulence in the economy won’t last long.

The premier said he will “guide” the nation every week on his government’s economic plans.

He said an impression had been created in the last 48 hours “as if the sky is going to fall [or] the day of judgement is upon us”, but instead sought to explain the issues faced by the economy.

He said the previous governments had taken loans recklessly, which has resulted in the country’s debt ballooning from Rs6 trillion to Rs30 trillion in the past 10 years alone.

He said the previous PML-N government had started its term with a $3 billion current account deficit, but the 40-day-old Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government inherited an $18bn current account deficit.

Talking about possible recourses to bridge the deficit, he said the total amount laundered out of Pakistan annually, according to the US State Department, is $10b.

The country also wouldn’t have to knock on the IMF’s door if the government managed to convince overseas Pakistanis to send $20b in remittances through banking channels, he said.

He said the incentives given by his government can also lead to exports rising by $10b from a current $20b.

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