Foreign company to invest $1.5 billion in housing sector: Nisar Khan
ISLAMABAD, Jan 15 (APP): Caretaker Minister for Housing and Works Nisar Muhammad Khan said on Tuesday that a foreign company would invest $1.5 billion in the housing sector in Pakistan to cope with housing problems in the country. “For the first time in the history of the Ministry for Housing and Works such a huge foreign investment will come to the housing sector in Pakistan,” he said in an interview with APP here.
The Minister said that he had held two meetings with Attorney General for Pakistan to facilitate the foreign investor in signing the Memorandum of Understanding.
He said that public-private partnership in overcoming the housing shortage was the need of the hour as private and informal sector plays a vital role in housing construction.
The Minister said the time has come that government should play the role of a facilitator and encourage the private sector and foreign investors in the housing sector.
To a question about non-implementation of national housing policies prepared in 1992 and 2001, Nisar Khan said that non-implementation complicated the housing situation in the country.
He said that he would soon meet President Pervez Musharraf and discuss the issue to come up with such policy measures which are pragmatic and implementable.
To a question about launching of new housing sectors in the federal capital, he said that unfortunately this should have been done as a top priority and up to the required level.
About delay in acquisition of land in Sector G-14, the Minister said that the sector was launched for federal government employees by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation in 2003 to meet the growing demand of housing units.
But after a lapse of four years land has not been acquired as yet due to tussle with the land owners, hindering the development work in Sector G-14/1,2,3, he said.
He however said that acquisition of land had been delayed due to disputes regarding built-up property in the area.
The Minister hoped that after getting possession of the land development work would be started during this year.
To a question about Sector F-12, the Minister said that majority of unauthorized people have occupied the land there and the CDA has asked the ministry to get it vacated.
He said a proposal has been put forward to reserve Sector F-13 for Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation as there is no problem of encroachments in that area.
Nisar Khan said that main hurdle to initiating new housing scheme was scarcity of land, particularly in and around urban centres.
He said that land value continues to increase with unchecked tendencies of speculation resulting in virtual non-availability of affordable land especially for low income groups.
The Ministry of Housing and Works in its advisory committee meeting has asked the federal and provincial governments to purchase cheap land in the outskirts of cities for constructing low-cost housing, he said.
Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) has launched a scheme to construct 36,000 flats for low-paid federal government employees in the federal capital and all provincial headquarters, Nisar Khan said.
Under a pilot project 1,000 flats have already been constructed in Sector G-11 in Islamabad while another 1,000 would be built there for which the CDA has been asked to purchase land.
Nisar Khan said that similar schemes were also being undertaken in all the four provincial metropolises to resolve housing problem of federal government employees.
To a question about role of financial institutions in housing sector, the Minister said that shortage of finance continues to be a major constraint in construction and maintenance of housing.
The country’s annual additional requirement is estimated at around 5,70,000 housing units whereas the actual annual production stands at around 3,00,000 housing units resulting in a recurring backlog of 2,70,000 housing units annually, Nisar Khan said.
He said and that 5,00,000 housing units should be built per annum to meet the growing needs and to also clear the backlog.