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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme is a game changer

When the PTI administration came to power in 2018, one of its key promises was the lofty target of building five million homes for the low-income population. In this regard, Mushtaq Jumma explains why the Naya Pakistan housing scheme can be a game-changer for the people of this country and how it can uplift people from low-income families.

Zainab (the name is changed for privacy reasons) used to feed her whole family while doing a private airline job earlier, followed by a national airline job. However, leaving the job greatly affected her life and while all her cousins live happily, she being jobless and homeless, had to adjust within their homes making herself feel like a maid having had to do all menial works there in return to stay with them. She was even not eligible for the Prime Minister’s scheme of low-income houses loan as the banks require an income stream to ensure receiving back the loan.

Recently I saw a very affordable low-cost housing scheme by a private builder offering flats ownership only for Rs. 2 lacs equity and 15,000 monthly installments. I immediately recall the homeless ex-PIA colleague Zainab if she could have availed this opportunity but it was too late. Those flats were sold within a couple of days. I visited the builder’s office, said to a trusted one with 30 plus big projects in Karachi.

I was pleasantly surprised to know that he has now spared the profits of certain projects exclusively for noble causes like building schools and hospitals in underprivileged areas hence I must mention his name Mr. Gohar Haneef, owner of Gohar Group so that others could follow. I am just wondering about Pakistanis who earn hardly enough for their survival and no equity amount available let alone those who earn nothing. A suggestion is to offer them ready-to-move flats converting their house rentals into pay-off installments.

Read more: Domestic cement demand falls by 13.73% but is expected to be raised by housing schemes

The Naya Pakistan housing scheme

The Naya Pakistan housing scheme can be a game-changer and popular among masses like that of the Yellow Cab Scheme during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure if the most important factor of eligibility criteria is made available to all and sundry including those who have no jobs and no extra earnings other than meeting both ends meet. A media awareness scheme with a slogan like “Sub Ka Ghar” means “Home For All” may be started.

House mortgages are rare in Pakistan and a primary reason is that people can’t afford the unbridled price of the property. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in 2018/2019, the average urban Pakistani household’s monthly income was Rs. 34,000. Savvy one says purchasing a house costs around four times one’s average annual income. Following this assumption finding a flat in the city should be against PKR 1.6 million which is not the case actually.

The mortgage to GDP ratio in South Asia is 3.4% and in Pakistan, it stands at 0.27%. The housing finance market in Pakistan faces numerous issues like inadequate foreclosure mechanism, the uncertainty of title deeds, lack of innovative products, risk of maturity mismatch, and absence of skilled mortgaged bankers. The Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme is developer-centric and as such, the approval process has been automated to one window operation for around 20 NOCs and the approval period is brought down to a month or two from 10 to 18 months earlier on.

Read more: Pakistan’s housing market is leading the economy: What has changed?

How can the whole country take advantage of this scheme?

Providing housing units can be done in three simultaneous ways by covering all urban,  suburban/small towns, and rural areas of the country.

Vertical housing schemes (flats) are successful in big cities and are being pursued by the government and private builders collectively. Further to cope up with the magnitude of the problem and the fact that around 30 million live in Katchi Abadis of which 10 million in Karachi alone hence the idea is that a slump (Katchi Abadi) be given to a developer to build residential-cum-commercial apartments project.

The Katchi Abadi residents are given flats in the vertically erected project while the ground is allocated to the developer to use as commercial property as compensation for building the project. The same can be done through community participation for the mutual benefit of society. The small towns need small contractors and the suburban people may be allotted land individually or to the community to get their houses built under finance from govt through those small contractors.

Read more: Banks receive Rs 40 bn worth of applications under PTI Housing Program

For rural areas, the idea of a cluster village with 25 odd houses may be introduced for poor people and local contractors are asked to develop them under the Naya Pakistan housing scheme as, in the feudal society, the homeless live in landlords homes hence being exploited for all social and economic reasons by the landlords. Such separate small clusters of villages will help break the shackles of feudalism.

Mushtaq Jumma is an Ex-Airliner and Business Consultant. He can be reached at mushtaqjumma@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.